1990-09-10

Metal Matrix Composites - an Opportunity for the Off-Highway Industry 901550

Significant opportunities exist, in the off highway industries, to introduce metal matrix composites within the next three years. While there is work required to improve the cost, quality assurance factors, and design knowledge base for complex, structural parts, there are numerous simple, wear and corrosion resistant parts for which there is adequate knowledge available to initiate the use of these materials today.
This paper describes a material system with emphasis on the enhanced properties and features which it will need to satisfy in order to achieve wide spread application. Factors which are both advancing and retarding the decision to introduce metal matrix composites are identified and suggestions are made for research to speed the implementation.
One of the major obstacles to introduction of MMC's is the designer's unfamiliarity with the material and with structural design methods for composites. A list of computer design analysis products is provided which may be of assistance to the designer. Additional obstacles discussed include the numerous competing materials already, or about to be, available on the market.
Several factors including political, (e.g., material availability and the environment), manufacturing safety, federally funded research, and levels of foreign research competition are presented.

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