Performance Evaluation of Metal Matrix Composites Bolted Joints 2010-01-2036
Recent advances in Metal Matrix Composites have made them ready for transition to large-volume production and commercialization. Such new materials seem to allow the fabrication of higher quality parts at less than 50 percent of the weight as compared to steel. The increasing requirements of weight savings and extended durability motivated the potential application of MMC technology into the heavy vehicle market. However, significant technical barriers such as joining are likely to hinder the broad applications of MMC materials in heavy vehicles. The focus of this paper is to examine the feasibility of manufacturing and the behavior of bolted joint connections made from aluminum matrix reinforced with Silicon Carbide (SiC) particles. Two reinforcement ratios: 20% and 45% were considered in this study. The first part of the paper concentrates on experimental evaluation of bolted MMC joints. The behavior of joints are studied as a function of various parameters such as distance of hole from the edge, size of the hole, width of joint, clamping conditions, etc. In the second part, a finite element model is generated to predict the behavior of a double-lap joint of the same materials. Since testing of every configuration of the joint is not feasible, such a FE model is of practical use in designing such joints. It is seen that experimental and numerical results agree well with each other. The results indicate that MMC joints are likely to fail early in the bearing mode, because of the brittle behavior of MMC materials.