Ultrasonic Cavitation Based Casting of Aluminum Matrix Nanocomposites for Automobile Structures 2006-01-0290
The properties of aluminum alloys reinforced by ceramic nanoparticles (less than 100nm) would be enhanced considerably while the ductility is retained over that of the native alloy. The potential of bulk Al-based metal matrix nano-composites (Al MMNCs) cannot be fully developed for industrial applications unless complex structural Al MMNC components can be fabricated cost effectively, such as by casting. Reliable bulk Al MMNCs cannot be cast unless the nanoparticles can be dispersed and distributed uniformly in molten Al alloys. This paper investigates a high volume production method for high performance aluminum matrix nanocomposites, in particular, the application of high intensity ultrasonic cavitation in mixing and dispersing nano-sized ceramic particles in Al melts to cast bulk Al MMNCs for complex automobile structures. Nano-sized SiC particles have been dispersed in molten aluminum alloy A356 for casting. Micro/nano-structural study has been carried out and it validates a good distribution and dispersion of nano-sized SiC in the aluminum alloy matrix. With the optimized processing parameters, the mechanical properties of the aluminum alloy have been improved significantly.