Effect of Composition, Particle Size, and Heat Treatment on the Mechanical Properties of Al-4.5 wt.% Cu Based Alumina Particulate Reinforced Composites
The quest for higher efficiency and performance of automotive vehicles requires application of materials with high strength, stiffness and lower weight in their construction. Particulate-reinforced aluminum-matrix composites are cost-competitive materials, which can meet these requirements. MMCC, Inc. has been optimizing particulate-reinforced alloy systems and developing the Advanced Pressure Infiltration Casting (APIC™) process for the manufacture of components from these materials. This paper discusses the results of a recent study in which composites reinforced with 55 vol.% alumina were cast using two sizes of alumina particulate and eight different matrix alloys based on Al-4.5 wt.% Cu with varying amounts of silicon and magnesium. Optimum heat treatments for each alloy were determined utilizing microhardness studies. The tensile strength and fracture toughness were evaluated as a function of alloy chemistry, particulate size, and heat treatment.