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International Conference on Recent Advances in Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Developments [ICRAMID - 2014]


(Research scholar) Anna university, Chennai


Department of Mechanical Engineering

Mepco Schlenk Engineering College

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Ponjesly College of Engineering


The term "Metal Matrix Nano-Composites

(MMNCs)" broadly refers to a composite system that is based on
metal or alloy substrate, combined with metallic or non-metallic
nano-scale reinforcements. In this paper, different kinds of
fabrication routes and application for metal matrix
nanocomposites are reviewed. The processes for the fabrication
of metal matrix nano composites are summarized. The main
advantages of MMNCs include excellent mechanical
performance, feasible to be used at elevated temperatures, good
wear resistance, low creep rate, etc. In the recent past, MMNCs
have been extensively studied, especially the method of
fabrication as the processing of such composites is quite a
challenge. Though a variety of processing methods have been
explored and studied over the years, none have emerged as the
optimum-processing route. The auto industry can customize
high-strength, wear-resistant, and self-lubricating lightweight
MMNCs for specific applications to make significant weight
reductions and improve fuel efficiency.

reinforcements, the fabrication cost of particulate is low [4],

which makes it more economical in many applications.
The compelling need for vehicles with low fuel consumption
is pushing the automotive industry to turn to composites as an
engineering pathway for a sustainable future. An almost 70%
increase of metal matrix composites is estimated to take place
in the use of Al in vehicles from 2004 to 2013 as shown in
Fig.1 Though metal matrix composites offer many advantages,
they do have shortcomings such as low fracture toughness and

Keywords- Ex-situ method, In-situ method, Composites

1.0 Introduction
The global economy has been exerting an increasing demand
for novel processes, new products and innovative technologies
to resolve sustainability issues. For the automobile industry,
the issues that are attracting more and more attention are gas
saving, CO2 emission and recycling. One approach to solve
the gas and emission issue is to reduce the weight of the
vehicle without decreasing material performances [1-3].
Metal Matrix Composites (MMCs) reinforced with ceramic
particulate offer significant performance over pure metals and
alloys. MMCs tailor the best properties of the two
components, such as ductility and toughness of the matrix and
high modulus and strength of the reinforcements [4-16]. These
prominent properties of these materials enable them to be
potential for numerous applications such as automotive,
aerospace and military industries [17-20].
MMCs can be divided into three categories: particle reinforced
MMCs, short fiber reinforced MMCs and continuous fiber
reinforced MMCs. Compared to other two types of

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Fig.1 Global outlook of metal-matrix composites by application segment


Automakers are being subjected to increasingly strict fuel

economy requirements, while consumers are demanding
improved interior comforts and advanced electronic systems
for safety, navigation, and entertainment, all of which add
otherwise unnecessary weight. To meet these challenges,
automotive manufacturers are turning to lightweight metals as
a solution [21-23]. Combining or replacing these efforts with
the use of advanced metal matrix micro- and nano-composites
(MMCs) not only reduce mass, but can also improve
reliability and efficiency [24, 25].
Orowan strengthening theory could explain the strengthening
mechanism of metal matrix composites [26]. The mechanism
is shown schematically in Fig.2. According to this mechanism
the yield stress is determined by the stress required for a

International Conference on Recent Advances in Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Developments [ICRAMID - 2014]

dislocation line to pass by the two particles shown. The

dislocation line is bowed around the two particles as the
applied stress is increased until the dislocation line reaches a
critical curvature stage 2. When this critical curvature is
reached the dislocation line can then move forward without
increasing its curvature (stage 3). The segments of dislocation
line on either side of each particle then join, and a dislocation
loop is left around each particle. As each dislocation line
moves past a particle the dislocation cell structure around the
particle builds up. Hansen [16] investigated that it is this
phenomenon that results in dispersion hardened metals having
a high rate of strain hardening.

Fig. 2 Orowan Strengthening Theory [16]

In many systems Orowan strengthening is not the only

mechanism at play; other mechanism such as Hall-Petch
strengthening due to grain size and solute strengthening (in
alloyed aluminum) also contribute to the strength of the
resulting MMC. Based on the studies of strengthening
mechanism, metal matrix composites reinforced with microsized particles have been well investigated and applied in
many fields.
By scaling down the particle size from m to nm, better
material properties could be obtained [27]. It has been
reported that with a small fraction of nano-sized
reinforcements, nano-size dispersion composite could obtain
comparable or even far superior mechanical properties than
those of micro-metric dispersion strengthened MMCs [28-30].
For example, the tensile strength of 1 vol.% Si3N4 (10nm)-Al
composite which is fabricated by powder metallurgy method,
is comparable to that of a 15 vol.% SiCp (3.5m)-Al
composite fabricated by the same technique [26]. The yield
strength of the nano-metric dispersion composite is much
higher than that of the micro-metric dispersion reinforced
2.0 Fabrication Routes
Based on the matrix phase in which the fabrication is being
conducted, the methods used in fabrication of MMNCs can be
divided into two categories namely solid state and liquid state
process. The processing routes are discussed below.
2.1. Solid State Processing
A. Powder Metallurgy [30-34]

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Among the numerous solid state nano-composites fabrication

processes, powder metallurgy (PM) is one quite diverse
manufacturing approach, which means that various kinds of
powder technology can be used in this process [15].
The basic process of powder metallurgy consists of three
major stages. First, the primary material is physically
powdered into many small individual particles. Next, the
powder is injected into a mold or passed through a die to
produce a weakly cohesive structure close to the dimensions
of the object ultimately to be manufactured. Finally, the
product is formed by applying pressure, high temperature,
long setting times, or any combination thereof.
The basic process is to first manufacture nano-scale particles,
and then mix the ceramic reinforcements with metal matrix
powders. After that, hot isometric pressing, extrusion or
sintering were introduced into the process to ensure the
consolidation of powder into a bulk shape.
Y.C. Kang et al. manufactured nano-metric Al2O3 particle
reinforced aluminum using powder metallurgy [30]. The
starting Al2O3 mean particle size in this study was 50 nm and
the starting matrix material was commercial pure aluminum
powder with average size of about 28m. The powder
metallurgy process involved wet mixing (aluminum powder
mixed with varying volume fraction of Al 2O3 powder in a pure
ethanol slurry), following by drying at 150 oC then cold
isostatic pressing (CIP, as opposed to HIP) to compact the
powders. The compacted powders were sintered in a vacuum
at 620oC (approximatively 60oC below the melting
temperature of aluminum). They fabricated aluminum
composite with different volume fraction of nano-sized
reinforcement, to investigate the effect of reinforcements on
hardness and tensile behaviors. The results showed that with
the addition of a small amount (1 vol. %) of nano-particulate
in the Al, the hardness of the metal was comparable to that of
a 10 vol. % SiCp (13m)-Al. The result of tensile tests also
revealed that a small amount of nano-sized reinforcement can
significantly increase the strength of the composite, and the
strengths of composites increased with the volume fraction of
particulate. However, once the volume fraction of the nanoparticulates in the composites exceeded 4%, the strength and
hardness of composites did not increase. They explained this
phenomenon as that the major strength mechanism was the
Orowan strengthening by these particulates, When nanoparticle content in the composites exceeded 4 vol.%, the
agglomerations reduce the amount of effective nanoparticulates available, and the particle strengthening effect
Z. Y. Ma et al. [26] fabricated nano-metric Si3N4 particulatereinforced aluminum composites by conventional powder
metallurgy and studied the mechanical properties of the
product. The process involved mixing of the Si3N4 particles
(average size 15 nm) and aluminum powders (average size 20
m), hot pressing in vacuum at 600oC and hot extrusion at
420oC at an extrusion ratio of 20:1. Pure aluminum sample
was also fabricated under the same processing condition for
comparison. The results also showed that the 1 vol. %
Si3N4/Al nano-composite exhibits a tensile strength of 180

International Conference on Recent Advances in Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Developments [ICRAMID - 2014]

MPa and yield strength of 143.7 MPa, which are much higher
than those of the monolithic aluminum.
Peng et al. [32] produced 2 to 35 volume percent of Al2O3
reinforced aluminum matrix nano-composites using a creative
method. Instead of adding nano Al2O3 particles in a direct step
of the metal matrix, they used aluminum powder with nanoscale surface as the initial material. The volume percent of
Al2O3 is determined by the particle size distribution and the
thickness of the Al2O3 layer. The Al2O3 surface layers or
shells are broken up and are uniformly distributed throughout
the nano-composite after the powder consolidation into billet
and the hot and/or cold metal working of the billet.
A good distribution has been achieved, although the process
does not allow a satisfactory control of the phase of layers
break-up and spreading. Moreover, the effectiveness and the
scalability of the method have not been proved yet.

Fig. 3 Schematic of Powder Metallurgy Process

B. High Energy Ball Milling [28, 29, 35-37]

In the late 1960s, Benjamin et al. first fabricated oxidedispersed alloy (ODS) using high energy ball milling. The
working principal of high energy ball milling is to utilize the
rotation and vibration of ball milling machine, creating strong
impact between the grinding media and raw materials,
breaking up the raw materials into nano-scale and mixing
them. By controlling the grinding variables, pure element,
alloy or nano-composite powder could be generated. By
combining this technique with hot extrusion or hot isostatic
pressing, bulk nano-materials could be made. High energy ball
millings has shown advantages such as cost effectiveness, high
productivity and ease of fabrication, and is capable of
producing nano-particles or nano-composites of high melting
temperature metal or alloy, which could not be obtained by
conventional methods. However, high energy ball milling also
presents disadvantages such as high energy consumption and
inclusion. Moreover, it is difficult to obtain fine particles with
uniform diameter, which degrades the properties of final
Sherif et al. [35] combined high energy ball milling with
plasma activated sintering method [38] and fabricated SiCp/Al
nano-composites, in which the volume fraction of SiC was
selected between 2% to 10%. They mixed the pure elemental
powder of Al (99.99%, 10 m) and SiC (99.9%, 100 m) in

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high energy planetary ball mill at a rotation speed of 3.3 s-1

and milled for 86 ks. Then the as mixed powders were
consolidated into compact in vacuum at 550C, with a
pressure of 19.638.2 MPa for 0.3 ks, using plasma activated
sintering method. The final product showed excellent
morphological properties such as homogeneous shape
(spherical-like morphology) with fine and smooth surface,
relief, and uniform size (less than 0.5 mm in diameter). The
internal structure of the fabricated composite powders consists
of a fine cell-like structure of SiC (about 5 nm in diameter)
embedded in the refined matrix of Al. The mechanic property
tests have shown that with the increase of SiC content, the
Vickers hardness also increases with a maximum value of 2.6
GPa which is far greater than Vickers hardness of pure
aluminum (0.95 GPa). Youngs modulus also increases with
increasing SiC content.
Michael et al. [28, 29, and 37] investigated the synthesis and
characterization of nano-structured WC-12 %Co coating using
mechanical milling and high velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF)
thermal spraying. They immersed commercially sintered WC12 % Co powder in Hexane and mechanically milled at a rate
180 rpm for 20 h. A specific solubilizing-annealing-crushing
procedure was conducted to agglomerate the as milled powder
from 10 m to 40 m due to that the thermal spray
processes typically require powder sizes within the range of 10
m to 50 m. Then the agglomerated nano-structured WC-12
% Co powder was brought into the rear of the spray gun by
nitrogen, heated by an airflow mixed with oxygen and fuel gas
with velocity of 1830 m/s and temperature around 2700 K and
finally sprayed out onto a stainless steel substrate. They
fabricated Cr3C2-25(Ni20Cr) coating using the same
fabrication technique as well.
Microstructure analysis and microhardness test were
conducted for both of the two coatings. The results showed
that the nano-structured WC-12 % Co coatings synthesized
consist of an amorphous matrix and carbide particles with an
average diameter of 35 nm and the average microhardness of
WC-12% Co is as high as 1135 HV and a higher resistance to
indentation cracking than that of its conventional counterpart.
C. Severe Plastic Deformation [39-47]
Severe Plastic Deformation (SPD) is a recently invented and
developed method to fabricate nano-structured materials and
has attracted growing interest in the field of materials science
[45]. It is known that heavy deformation can result in
remarkable refinement of microstructure at low temperature
[14, 39, 44, and 46]. SPD is basically a method which imposes
very large strains on the specimen or work piece at low
temperature (usually less than 0.4 T m), producing high
densities of crystal lattice defects (particularly dislocations),
therefore refines the dimensions of materials into sub-micro or
even nano scale. When compared with other solid-state
fabrication routes, the most significant advantage of SPD
results in overcoming a number of difficulties connected with
residual porosity in compacted samples, impurities from ball
milling, processing of large scale billets and practical
application of the given materials [14].

International Conference on Recent Advances in Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Developments [ICRAMID - 2014]

The typical fabrication routes for SPD can be divided into 2

categories [14]: severe plastic torsional straining (SPTS) under
high pressure and equal channel angular pressing (ECAP).
High-pressure torsion refers to processing in which the
sample, generally in the form of a thin disk, is subjected to
torsional straining under a high hydrostatic pressure [47]. The
principle of SPTS is illustrated schematically in Fig. 4.

Fig. 4.Principle of SPTS [47]

The disk is located in a cavity, a hydrostatic pressure is

applied, and plastic torsional straining is achieved by rotation
of one of the anvils. In order to achieve pressures higher than
2 GPa, it is generally preferable to use a modified geometry
with the cavities placed in each of the anvils.
The process of equal channel angular pressing (ECAP) is
illustrated in Fig 5. A rod-shaped billet is pressed through a
die constrained within a channel which is bent at an abrupt
angle. A shear strain is introduced when the billet passes
through the point of intersection of the cross-sectional
dimensions of the billet remain unchanged, the pressings may
be repeated to attain exceptionally high strains.

Fig.5 Principle of ECAP [47]

The first attempt to fabricate nano-structured material using

SPD method was done by Valiev and his co-workers in the
1980s [48, 49]. A sharp increase of different explorations of
this subject was published in recent years.
Alexandrov et al. [46] processed and obtained Cu-5vol.% SiO2
and Al-5 vol.% Al2O3 ultrafine-grained materials by SPTS
consolidation of micrometer-sized Cu and Al powders and
nanometer-sized SiO2 and Al2O3 powders. They precompacted

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commercially synthesized micrometer-sized metallic powders

and nanometer-sized ceramic particles in a die using a
pressure of 0.6 GPa under a vacuum of 10-3 mm Hg at
T=200oC, then they imposed SPTS process of the precompacts
under a pressure of 1.5 and 6 GPa at room temperature. The
powder mixtures for nano-composite samples were ball-milled
for 0.5 h before pre-compaction to ensure a uniform
distribution of ceramic particles. The plunger was rotated for 5
revolutions during SPTS process. The microstructure and
properties were investigated by TEM, XRD, micro hardness
and electrical resistivity measurements, and mechanical tests.
The TEM micrograph showed the formation of ultrafinegrained structures in Cu and Cu-SiO2 samples SPTS
consolidated under both 1.5 and 6 GPa. Increasing of pressure
from 1.5 to 6 GPa resulted in a decrease of the average grain
size from 150 to 60 nm. However, the grain-size change in the
Al and Al-Al2O3 samples with increasing applied pressure
during the SPTS consolidation was contrary to the Cu and CuSiO2: an increase in pressure from 1.5 to 6 GPa leads to a
increase of the average grain size from 120 to 200 nm.
Mechanical properties tests revealed that the microhardness of
SiO2/Cu under 6 GPa, which is 2800 MPa, is 56 % greater
than the microhardness of sample obtained under 1.5 GPa.
Super plastic-like behavior was observed in ultrafine-grained
Al-Al2O3 samples during their tensile tests at 400oC.
Stolyarov et al. [50] fabricated nanocrystalline Ti and TiTiO2
nano-composites by SPTS and investigated the effect of
processing temperature and pressure on material density and
microhardness. They pre-compacted the titanium powder with
an average particle size of 21 m and TiO2 powder with
average size of 36 nm either in air or vacuum. Then the
precompacted mixtures with 5 or 10% of TiO2 by volume
were imposed by SPTS process in air. Two of the most
significant processing parameters, temperature and pressure,
which affect the material density during the precompaction
and SPTS, were varied and studied. The temperature range at
which Ti powder was precompacted was chosen from 300C
to 550C and the range of precompacting pressure was chosen
from 0.3 to 1.5 GPa. Results showed that higher
precompacting temperatures and pressures lead to denser
precompacts. The microhardness of the precompacts
significantly increases with increasing density. The SPTS
process refined the grain size of Ti and TiTiO2 materials to
about 75 nm. Mechanical tests revealed that both
microhardness and thermal stability were enhanced by
addition of nanocrystalline TiO2 particles into Ti matrix.
2.2 Liquid State Processing
A. Infiltration Technique [51-55]
Infiltration process is typically preparing a porous preform
of the reinforcement followed by infiltration its pores with the
molten metal. Liquid phase infiltration is not straightforward
due to the difficulties with wetting the ceramic reinforcement
by the molten metal. According to Asthana [51], two forces
must be overcome to achieve a good bonding and dispersion
of the reinforcement: capillary forces and viscous drag of fluid
motion through preform interstices.
To overcome the capillary forces that lead to non-wetting, the

International Conference on Recent Advances in Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Developments [ICRAMID - 2014]

chemistry of the system must be modified, or an external

pressure is applied most to the metal to force the contact and
enhance the wettability. Chemical modifications include
coating the reinforcement (for instance with Nickel), adding
special elements to the matrix (for instance adding Mg), or
using special atmospheres and very high temperatures. It has
been observed [51-53] that this can lead to unstable phases
and limits the range of matrix alloys that can be used. When a
mechanical force is used, this energetic barrier could be
overcome without altering the composite chemical
composition. Porosity is reduced, the structure refined and the
interfacial bond quality improved.
However, when the infiltration of the preform occurs readily,
reactions between the former and the molten metal may take
place and significantly degrade the properties of the composite
[53]. For this reason, the preform is often coated to reduce the
interfacial reactions, thus increasing the complexity and costs
of the process.
There are some disadvantages associated with the use of high
pressures to combine the ceramic reinforcement and the
matrix metal: preform fragmentation, deformation and
unevenly reinforced castings [51]. Furthermore, pressures of
the order of ten atmospheres (1 MPa) are needed to drive the
metal into 1 m wide pores [52]. Since in nano-composites
fabrication it is desirable to infiltrate significantly smaller
pores, heavy equipment is necessary to withstand the high
pressure. Moreover, when the reinforcement interface is wide,
as for nano scale composites, the interfacial energy that must
be overcome to ensure wettability is higher, and the pressure
that must be applied increases as a consequence. In fact, the
threshold pressure, able to guarantee a complete wetting, is the
key parameter for infiltration techniques. In addition to
pressure-driven infiltration, vacuum-driven infiltration has
also been used for some matrix-reinforcement systems. Since
the magnitude of the negative pressure that can be achieved is
limited, vacuum infiltration is usually coupled with the
abovementioned methods of wettability enhancement [52].

The results showed that the infiltration of SiC could be

obtained at any pressure in the 28 GPa range as long as the
metal melts, while diamond infiltration could not be achieved
at any Pressure-Temperature condition. SEM image of the
polished surface showed that distribution of the metal particles
in the composite is very uniform both on the nano- and microscale. The hardness of nano-composites increased with
decrease in the SiC grain size.
B. Stirring Techniques [57-63]
Stir mixing techniques, widely used to mix micron size
particles in metallic melts, have been recently modified for
dispersing small volume percentages of nano-sized
reinforcement particles in metallic matrices. Their main
advantage is the capability over other processes in rapidly and
inexpensively producing large and complex near-net shape
components, but there are difficulties in mixing nano-sized
particles in metallic melts that cant be overcome with the
traditional stirring methods.
Agglomerates of particles are usually observed in the
solidified microstructure. This is due to the increase of surface
area caused by the reduction of particle size, which raise the
difficulty of particle introduction and homogeneous dispersion
through the melt. The poor wetting between reinforcement
material and the metal matrix presents a barrier to the
incorporation of the dispersoid phase into the melt. The
immersion of solids into liquids requires substitution of a
solid-gas interface by an equivalent solid-liquid interface, and
can lead to absorption or generation of energy [57, 58]. The
energetic of solid immersion into liquids are determined by the
energy associated with the solid-gas interface, liquid gas
interface and solid-liquid interface.
By definition, the surface energy is the energy required
creating a unit area of new surface, and represents the extra
energy possessed by the surface atoms due to the decrease in
bond length between the surface atoms and interior atoms [16,
57, and 58]. When a particle is split into two smaller particles,
the number of broken bonds contributes to the surface energy
of each of the two particles according to the expression [57]:

= 0.5NA
Where N is the number of the broken bonds, is half of the
bond strength and A the number of atoms per unit area on the
new surface.
Particle Size

Total Surface Area


Surface Energy (J/g)



5.6 x 10-3

5.6 x10-4
5.6 x 10-2


2.8 x 10


2.8 x 104


2.8 x 107



10 (1nm)

Table 1: Variation of surface energy with particle size (1 g of sodium

chloride) [58].

Fig. 6 Schematic Representation of Pressure Driven Infiltration

Gierlotka et al. [56] used a toroid high-pressure hightemperature cell at pressures up to 8 GPa and temperatures up
to 2000C for the infiltration of a nanoporous matrix prepared
by compacting nanopowders of high-hardness materials such
as SiC and diamond. The preform grain size was about 10 nm.

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Changes in the size range from micron scale to nanometer,

lead to great changes in physical and chemical properties of
the material. Table 1 show the scatter of seven orders of
magnitude in the surface energy when the nanometer scale is
reached. The massive increase in surface energy makes
particle wetting from the melt more difficult, as the surface

International Conference on Recent Advances in Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Developments [ICRAMID - 2014]

energy of the system itself is increased [57].

Several attempts have been made to overcome the
agglomeration of particles. Li. et al. [59-62] fabricated Al and
Mg based nanocomposites using ultrasonic cavitation. In the
ultrasonic cavitation-based solidification process, transient
micro hot spot with the temperature of about 5000 K and
pressure above 1000 atm can be formed by ultrasonic
cavitation. The strong heating and cooling rates during the
formation process is composed of hot spot that can break
nanoparticles cluster and clean the particle surface. The
schematic of ultrasonic cavitations-based solidification
processing is shown in Fig.7. In the ultrasonic cavitationbased solidification processing; nanoparticles are placed on
the surface of molten metal. Then the ultrasonic vibration is
executed on the molten metals for a specified period of time
until all the particles are distributed in the liquid metal.

Fig.8 Tensile stress, yield stress and elongations vs. different wt. %. [62]

Even though the ultrasonic cavitation process has been proven

to be effective, it is difficult to utilize this technology for
industrial application in that the volume of castings are limited
to the power of the ultrasonic source. Moreover, the action
between the particles and molten metal in the ultrasonic
process need to be investigated and analyzed.
Electromagnetic stirring, also called induction stirring/heating,
has been proved to be effective in modifying solidification
process of metal and alloys. In induction heating, a group of
solenoid is placed around the crucible. Alternating current is
applied in the solenoid, generating inductive magnetic field in
the metal. The work piece is electric conductive, so the
alternating magnetic field will produce an inductive electric
field in the work piece. According to Faradays Law and
Right-hand Rule, when alternating current passes through
coils surrounding the molten metal, the current will produce
an electromagnetic force field. The molten metal will flow
under the action of electromagnetic force as conductor. The
electromagnetic force is considered as volume force, called
Lorentz Force.

Fig.7 Schematic of experimental setup of ultrasonic method

Yang et al. [62] fabricated bulk Al-based nanocomposites with

nano-sized SiC by ultrasonic cavitation-based casting method.
It is shown that the nano-sized SiC particles are dispersed well
in the matrix and the yield strength of A356 alloy was
improved more than 50% with only 2.0 wt. % of nano-sized
SiC particles. Partial oxidation of SiC nanopartilces resulted in
the formation of SiO2 in the matrix. The study suggests that
strong ultrasonic nonlinear effects could efficiently disperse
nanoparticles (less than 100 nm) into alloy melts while
possibly enhancing their wettability, thus making the
production of as-cast high performance lightweight MMNCs

Fig.9 The Right-hand Rule of Electromagnetic Force

The main influence of electromagnetic stirring on the

solidification of metal is lie in refining internal structures,
reducing porosity, segregation, and minimizing internal cracks
[49]. Moreover, since there is no direct contact between the
stirrer and the molten alloy, electromagnetic stirring not only
reduces the porosity but also decrease contamination in the

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International Conference on Recent Advances in Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Developments [ICRAMID - 2014]

In the past few decades, many efforts have been taken in

fabricating metal composites using electromagnetic stirring.
Gui et al. [63] produced SiC reinforced A 356 composites
using liquid and semisolid double stirring. The average
particle size was 10 15 m. With an addition of 15 vol % of
SiC, the tensile strength and yield strength were improved by
15 % and 40 % respectively.
C. Droplet Consolidation Techniques [64-66]
Droplet consolidation techniques encompass a broad spectrum
of technologies from rapid solidification to spray deposition.
Droplet consolidation could be defined as a rapid quenching
from the liquid state [64]. This process is featured with high
cooling rate, which is usually greater than 1 mm s-1. The time
of contact at high temperature is usually limited to
milliseconds followed by rapid quenching to room
temperature. Due to the high cooling rate during this process,
segregation of phase could be reduced which may result in
better matrix properties or in some case can improve the
quality of the bond at the matrix-reinforcement interfaces [64].
This technique will also enhance the dispersion hardening by
substantially reducing the size scale of the reinforcing phase
and modifying their distribution in the matrix [65].
Droplet consolidation techniques could be classified into three
Spray methods that involve fragmentation or atomization
of a melt stream into droplets.

Fig.10 Schematic representation of Spray Deposition

Casting of a melt stream (chill methods usually, but not

always, involving stabilization rather than fragmentation
of a melt stream).

In-situ melting and rapid solidification that takes place at

the surface of the heat sink, which can be the same
materials as that being rapidly solidified.
Tong et al. [65] conducted an experiment to compare the
effects of traditional ingot metallurgy; rapid solidification and
chill-block melt spinning. In the experiment, the particles were
created by in-situ reactions. The results show that Al-TiC
composites exhibit the agglomeration of TiC in ingot
metallurgy methods, while the rapidly solidified
microstructures formed under certain thermal history
conditions consist if a uniform dispersion of TiC phase
particles with nanoscale size.
The spray process is generally automated and fast. In spray
process, droplets of molten metal and reinforcing phase are
sprayed together and collected on a substrate where metal
solidification is completed [67]. Alternatively, the
reinforcement may be placed on the substrate, and molten
metal may be sprayed onto it. Inert gas is also involved in this
process to atomize the molten metal into the droplets.
The spray process is very difficult to control since that too
many variables are involved, as shown in fig.10 Moreover;
residual porosity is observed in the material, as shown in
Fig.11 the porosity is mainly due to the tendency of the
particle to stay at the stream boundaries, giving rise to a
inhomogeneous dispersion in the final piece [68]. In addition,
the equipment costs are very high and large amounts of waste
powder, which must be collected and dispersed, are produced

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Fig.11 Schematic of the variables involved in spray deposition process [69]

Fig.12 Porosity in an aluminum matrix composite via spray deposition [71]

D. In-situ Techniques
In-situ techniques refer to a series of fabrication routes in
which the reinforcing phase is formed in the matrix. Chemical
reaction is always involved in in-situ techniques. Compared
with ex-situ techniques in which second phase is manually
introduced into the primary phase, the reinforcements formed
in-situ are thermodynamically stable at the matrix, leading to
less degradation in elevated-temperature. Besides, the
reinforcement-matrix interfaces are clean, resulting in a strong
interfacial bonding. Moreover, the in-situ formed reinforcing

International Conference on Recent Advances in Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Developments [ICRAMID - 2014]

particles are finer in size and their distribution in the matrix is

more uniform, yielding better mechanical properties [72].
Because of the great potential that in situ techniques provide
for widespread applications, a variety of processing techniques
have been developed for production during the past decade.
Using these routes, a wide range of matrix materials
(including aluminum, titanium, copper, nickel and iron) and
second-phase particles (including borides, carbides, nitrides,
oxides and their mixtures) have been produced [52].
In-situ processes can be classified into two major categories
according to the physics of the process itself and the starting
phases [64] Fig. 13
Reactive in situ processing: the reinforcement is
synthesized directly within the metallic matrix during
processing. They further can be divided into gas-liquid,
liquid-liquid, solid-liquid reactions.
Morphological in situ processing: a favorable
composite architecture evolves as a consequence of
processing. Deformation processes and directional
solidification of eutectics alloy belong to this category.

Fig.13 Schematic of in-situ manufacturing routes [64]

They melt Cu-Ti alloy by induction heating to the temperature

between 1400oC and 1500oC, and then the mixture of B2O3
powder and carbon powder was introduced into the melt by Ar
gas. The mixture was agitated by a propeller for an appropriate
length of time before rapidly solidified. The particulates are
uniformly distributed and tensile strength and hardness of the
in situ CuTiB composites were significantly improved.




A. Advanced metal matrix composites

The Center for Composite Materials and the Center for
Advanced Materials Manufacture (CAMM) are leading forces
behind several innovations in the field of advanced Sintered
metallic materials. Metal-matrix composites are metals or
alloys that incorporate particles, whiskers, fibers, or hollow
micro balloons made of a different material, and offer unique
opportunities to tailor materials to specific design needs.
These materials can be tailored to be lightweight and with
various other properties including:

ISBN 978-93-80609-17-1

High specific strength and specific stiffness

High hardness and wear resistance
Low coefficients of friction and thermal expansion
High thermal conductivity
High energy absorption and a damping capacity
Driven by the need to build higher weight, quieter and more
fuel-efficient engines, the automotive industry has recognized
the need for materials substitution offering outstanding
properties in a number of engine components, including
engine poppet valves. Since the valves control the gas flow,
valve size, timing and overlap, they all influence volumetric
efficiency. The valve train is designed to achieve maximum
volumetric efficiency at the desired level of engine
performance. Also engine valves are subjected to high
operating temperatures and stress conditions which affect
durability. Al-TiC composites as possible alternative materials
for engine poppet valves.
MMCs are used commercially for several different kinds of
automobile parts such as the top channel of a diesel engine
piston and the cylinder liner of an engine block. On the other
hand, while MMC parts are used in high strength applications
such as connecting rods. In particular, TiC particle-reinforced
MMCs are developing by many researches because of the
thermodynamic stability of TiC and the hardness and low
In addition to these properties, new MMCs are being
developed at self-healing, self-cleaning, and self-lubricating
properties, which can be used to enhance energy efficiency
and reliability of automotive systems and components.
B.Piston and cylinder liners
Aluminum engine blocks typically require cast iron cylinder
liners due to poor wear characteristics of aluminum. Porsche is
using MMCs for cylinder liners by integrating a porous silicon
preform into the cast aluminum block, and Honda uses a
similar method incorporating alumina and carbon fibers in the
bores of die cast aluminum [25]. These practices improve
wear characteristics and cooling efficiency over cast iron
C.Metal matrix composites use in automotive applications
SiC-, Al2O3-, and/or
graphite-reinforced micro
and nano MMCs.
Light weight,


Fly ash cenosphere- and

low-density ceramic
syntactic foam MMCs.
MMCs with hydrophobic
biomimetic coatings, and
surface finishes.
Micro and nano MMCs
incorporating graphite,
MoS2, TiB2, hexagonal
BN& Solid Lubricants.

Bearing surfaces, cylinder
liners, pistons, cam shafts,
tappets, lifters, rockers,
brake components.
Crumple zones, frame
members and
reinforcements, pedestrian
impact zones, batteries
Water pumps, water
jackets, exposed metallic
Bearing journals, cylinder
liners, pistons, cv joints,
gear surfaces.

International Conference on Recent Advances in Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Developments [ICRAMID - 2014]


MMCs incorporating
shape memory alloys or
hollow reinforcements
filled with low-melting
healing agents.

High thermal

Micro and nano MMCs

reinforced with high
conductivity carbon,
diamond, or cubic boron
nitride (cBN) powder.

High strength

Micro and nano MMCs

reinforced with SiC or
Al2O3 particles, carbon
nanotubes (CNT), carbon
or Nextel fibers, and insitu ceramics.
MMCs containing fly ash
or waste sand as fillers.

Low cost

Difficult-to-access, fatigue
prone and critical
components, such as drive
shafts, wheels, steering
knuckles and columns, and
connecting rods.
Cylinder liners, water
components, catalytic
converters, electronics
Connecting rods, brake
calipers, brake rotors,
brake calipers.

similar to cast iron, while using less material than similar

aluminum bushings can also be incorporated into control-arm
castings to allow for components that do not require service
and will last the life of the vehicle.

Intake manifolds,
accessory brackets, lowload brackets, oil pans,
valve covers, alternator
covers, water pumps.

With the advent of nanostructured materials, new materials
have been developed with exceptional properties exceeding
those expected for monolithic alloys or composites containing
micron-scale reinforcements. For example, carbon nanotubes
have ultrahigh strength and modulus; when included in a
matrix, they could impart significant property improvements
to the resulting nano-composite.
In another example [73], incorporating only 10 vol% of 50-nm
alumina (Al2O3) particles to an aluminum alloy matrix using
the powder metallurgy process increased yield strength to 515
MPa. This is 15 times stronger than the base alloy, six times
stronger than the base alloy containing 46 vol% of Al2O3, and
over 1.5 times stronger than AISI 304 stainless steel.
For components not exposed to extreme loading, further cost
and weight reductions can be realized by incorporating fly ash
(a waste by-product of coal power plants) in metal (e.g.,
aluminum, magnesium, lead, and zinc) matrices. Replacing
components such as A/C pump brackets, timing belt/chain
covers, alternator housings, transmission housing, valve
covers, and intake manifolds with aluminum-fly ash
composites can reduce the vehicle cost and weight, and
thereby improve emissions and save energy [74, 75]. Adding
fly ash to aluminum also reduces its coefficient of thermal
expansion and increases its wear resistance along with making
lighter and less expensive material.
F. Suspension
Many automakers started to use aluminum and lightgage steel
for suspension components to reduce unsprung weight and
improve vehicle dynamics, but many components are still
made of cast iron. Components such as control arms or wheel
hubs made of strong silicon carbide (SiC) reinforced
aluminum or aluminum nano-composites can further improve
aluminum alloy designs by improving strength characteristics

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Automotive disk brakes and brake calipers, typically made of
cast iron, are an area where significant weight reduction can
be realized. SiC-reinforced aluminum brake rotors are
incorporated in vehicles such as the Lotus Elise, Chrysler
Prowler, General Motors EV1, Volkswagen Lupo 3L, and the
Toyota RAV4-EV [25]. Widespread use of aluminum
composite brake rotors requires their costs to come down and
improved machinability. Aluminum-silicon carbide-graphite
composites, aluminum alumina-graphite, and hypereutectic
aluminum-silicon graphite alloys with reduced silicon carbide
to help overcome cost and machinability barriers.
Aluminum calipers are also used in performance applications
because of the weight advantage, but require additional
bridging between the two halves of the caliper to increase
rigidity. Strength improvements seen in aluminum nanocomposites being developed at UWM can provide significant
improvements in component rigidity without adding a
significant amount of material, resulting in lower weight
4.0 Previous Research
R. Narayanasamy and K.S. Pandey (76) developed evaluation
of cold upset-forming and densification features in
aluminium3.5% alumina sintered powder preforms.
Cylindrical preforms of three initial theoretical densities (75,
80 and 90%) and three initial aspect ratios (0.36, 0.54 and
0.72) were prepared using a suitable die, a punch and a die
bottom insert on a 0.60 MN capacity hydraulic press. The
preforms were coated with an indigenously developed ceramic
coating and dried for a period of 9 h under room-temperature
conditions. The ceramic-coated preforms were sintered in an
electric muffle furnace for a period of 1.5 h at 550C and then
furnace-cooled. It has been established that the stresses,
namely, the axial (z), the hoop () and the hydrostatic (m),
can be calculated. They are found to have an increasing trend
with enhanced level of deformation. However, the flow
stresses increased rapidly in the early stages of deformation,
and then continue increase but at a lesser rate, as the
deformation continues.
R. Narayanasamy, N. Selvakumar and K.S. Pandey (77) have
reported that Cold upsetting experiments were carried out on
sintered AlFe composite preforms in order to evaluate their
work-hardening characteristics and from the experiments they
found that the iron content in AlFe composite decreases, the
Strain hardening value increases. For fine iron particle-size
compacts, the strain hardening Obtained is higher for low
aspect ratio. For the coarse iron particle-size, the secondary
strain hardening takes place. The secondary strain hardening
takes place during the early stage of deformation in the case of
coarse iron particle-size in the AlFe composite, because of
more amount of geometric strain hardening. As the iron

International Conference on Recent Advances in Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Developments [ICRAMID - 2014]

content in AlFe composite increases, the strength coefficient

value decreases when the iron particle-size is fine. The iron
particle-size is coarser, the strength co efficient value
decreases. The aspect ratio increases, the strength coefficient
value decreases.
Mehdi Rahimiana, Nader Parvinb and Naser Ehsania (78)
investigated the effect of alumina particle size and its amount
on the relative density, hardness, Microstructure, wear
resistance, yield and compressive strength and elongation in
AlAl2O3 composites. To this end, the amount of 020 wt.%
alumina with average particle sizes 48, 12 and 3m was used
along with pure aluminum of average particle size of 30 m.
Powder metallurgy is a method used in the fabrication of this
composite in which the powders were mixed using a planetary
ball mill. Consolidation was conducted by axial pressing at
440 MPa. Sintering procedure was done at 550oC for 0.75 h.
The results indicated that as the alumina particle size is
reduced, density raises at first, then, declines. Moreover, as the
alumina particle size decreases, hardness, yield strength,
compressive strength and elongation increase and factors such
as wear resistance, microstructure grain size and distribution
homogeneity in matrix decreases. For instance, as the alumina
particle size gets smaller from 48 to 3 m at 10 wt. % alumina,
hardness rises from 50 to 70 BHN, compressive strength
improves from 168 to 307 MPa and wear rate rises from
0.0289 to 0.0341 mm3/m. On the other hand, as the amount of
alumina increases, hardness and wear resistance increase and
relative density and elongation is decreased. However,
compressive and yield strength rise at first, then drop. For
example, if the amount of alumina with 12 m particle size
increases from 5 to 10 wt. %, hardness increases from 47 to 62
BHN and compressive strength rises from 190 to 273 MPa.
Nevertheless, erosion rate after 300 m decreases from 0.0447
to 0.0311 mm3/m. Alumina additions reduced the wear rate of
the composite. By increasing the alumina particle size from 3
to 12 m after a distance of 400 m, the weight loss and wear
rate decreases by 9% in specimens containing 10 wt. %
Mehdi Rahimiana, Naser Ehsania, and Hamid reza (79)
investigated the effect of alumina particle size, sintering
temperature and sintering time on the properties of AlAl2O3
composite. The average particle sizes of alumina were 3, 12
and 48m. Sintering temperature and times were in the range
of 500600oC for 3090 min. A correlation is established
between the microstructure and mechanical properties. The
microstructure, yield strength, compressive strength and
elongation to fracture. It has been concluded that
The relative density of AlAl2O3 composite was higher in
samples containing fine particle sizes.
The highest relative density of 99.95%was observed in
specimens sintered at 600oC.
The grain size of samples having fine Al 2O3 particles is
smaller and increasing the sintering time to 90 min leads
to grain coarsening.
The highest hardness was 76HB in specimens containing
average particle size of 3m sintered at 600oC for 45 min.

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Further increase in sintering time to 90min results in a

reduction in hardness to 59 HB.
The finer the particle size of alumina, the greater the
compressive strength and elongation. The highest strength
was 318 MPa, for the composite containing an average
particle size of 3m and Sintered at 600oC for 45 min.
Further increase in sintering time has an adverse effect on
the strength.
Extended sintering times and also the use of fine alumina
in AlAl2O3 composite results in higher elongations.
Maximum elongation was observed to be 61.8% in
samples containing the average particle size of 3m.
Saidatulakmar Shamsuddin, Zuhailawati Hussain and Zainal
Arifin Ahmad (80) studied focused on fabricating and
characterizing composites of iron-chromium alloy reinforced
with 525 wt. % of alumina particles fabricated using powder
metallurgy method. The varying weight percentage of alumina
particles studied has an effect on the final physical properties
of the composites namely the density, shrinkage, porosity and
hardness. Bulk density and porosity of the composites were
calculated using standard Archimedean testing. Microhardness was measured using micro-Vickers hardness
instrument. The data obtained showed that the 20 wt. %
alumina produced the highest hardness reading. Higher weight
percentage of reinforcements resulted in clustering of the
reinforcement in the matrix, which causes higher porosity and
lower density of the composites, consequently resulted in a
decrease in hardness.
R.F. Shyu, C.T. Ho (81) has reported that, an aluminum
matrix containing titanium carbide particles was fabricated by
in situ process in which a carbonaceous gas reacts with
titanium in a liquid melt to form TiC. The tensile and yield
strength is increased by up to 18% after the formation of TiC
in the Al alloy matrix. The hardness increased by up to 20%.
The abrasive and sliding wear resistance increased with the in
situ formation of TiC particles.
D.R. Kumar, C. Loganathan and R. Narayanasamy (82) have
reported that the material studied in aluminum with glass as
reinforcement. Glass content has been varied from 0% to 8%
with particle size of 60m. The experimental results were
analyzed for workability under triaxial stress state condition as
a function of the relative density. The formability stress index
(), stress ratio parameters (/eff) were obtained for each
percentage addition of Glass. It is found that the addition of
higher glass content as reinforcement in the Aluminum matrix
increases the strength property, because of Reduction in pore
size or increase in relative density. In general, the strain
hardening index value (n) decreases with increasing addition
of glass because the pore size decreases and the geometric
work hardening would be lesser. The strength coefficient
value (K) increases with increasing addition of glass because
of better densification. The formability stress index ()
increases with increasing addition of glass because of better
densification and decrease in pore size.
R. Narayanasamy, V. Anandakrishnan and K.S. Pandey (83)
have investigated the densification is a measure of
deformation in upset forming of Powder Metallurgy (P/M)
processes. A complete experimental investigation on the

International Conference on Recent Advances in Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Developments [ICRAMID - 2014]

deformation behaviour of aluminium3.5% alumina powder

composite has been discussed for the case of triaxial stress
state condition. Cold upsetting of aluminium3.5% alumina
composite with and with no annealing having different initial
perform relative density and with different aspect ratio was
carried out and the densification behaviour of the preform
under triaxial stress state condition was determined. A new
true strain considering the effect of bulging was taken into
account for the case of determination of the hoop strain. Plots
made for different preforms were analyzed for the
densification behaviour of preforms considering the effect of
both geometrical work-hardening (GWH) and the matrix
work-hardening (MWH). It is found that the matrix workhardening may be dominant when initial Preform relative
density is 0.9 and aspect ratio is lower (0.35). As the initial
preform relative density decreases to lower value, the
geometrical work-hardening is dominant and the matrix workhardening is almost nil. The rate of densification depends on
the amount of matrix work-hardening (if the preforms are
annealed or not) particularly when initial preform relative
density is 0.9.The rate of densification is lower when initial
preform relative density is in the order of 0.72 and 0.8, due to
the reason that only geometrical work-hardening is dominant.
L.J. Yang (84) has reported the results obtained from
research work carried out earlier to determine the effect of
nominal specimen contact area on the wear coefficient of
A6061 aluminium matrix composite (MMC) containing 20%
of alumina particles. The pin-on-disc testing method was used
to conduct the wear tests with speeds of 200 and 275 m/min
and loads of 74 and 98 N. Square pins with a length of 25mm
and with two different nominal contact areas of 66mm2 and
1010 mm2 were used. The discs were made of AISI-01 cold
work tool steel with a hardness of about 62 HRC. Wear tests
were carried out at distances from 250 to 12,000 m. It was
found that the wear coefficient values obtained for the
specimens with a smaller nominal contact area were lower, by
about 12 to 32% based on the measured and predicted values,
respectively, as the wear asperity volume available is smaller.
This observation also agrees well with the adhesive wear
Mehdi Rahimian, Nader Parvin and Naser Ehsani has
developed (85) the effect of production parameters on wear
resistance of AlAl2O3 composites. Alumina powder with a
particle size of 12, 3 and 48 m and pure aluminum powder
with particle size of 30 m were used. The amount of added
alumina powder was up to 20%. Ball milling was utilized to
blend the powders. The range of sintering temperature and
time were 500oC, 550oC and 600oC and 30, 45, 60 and 90 min
respectively. It was found that increasing sintering
temperature results in increasing density, hardness and wear
resistance and homogenization of the microstructure. The
results showed that
Proper sintering temperature and time results in improved
Wear properties, however, excess sintering conditions
deteriorates the wear properties due to grain growth and
reduced Hardness. For instance, increasing the sintering
temperature from 550oC to 600oC lowered the weight loss

ISBN 978-93-80609-17-1

by 7% after sintering For 45 min, as compared to 22% for

that of 90 min.
Addition of alumina, considerably improves the wear
properties of pure aluminum in all wear test distances. For
instance, addition of 5 wt. % alumina with an average size
of 12 m reduced the weight loss of the composite by
31%. On the other hand, reducing particle size of alumina
increased the wear rate. For example, the wear rate
increases by 16% if alumina particle size reduces from 48
to 3m after a test run of 400 m.
Elevated sintering temperatures help reduce porosity and
enhance densification, whereas excess sintering time
leads to grain coarsening. For instance, increasing the
sintering time from 45 to 60 min increased the grain area
from 820 to 960 m2 in AlAl2O3 composite.
High amounts of alumina lead to reduced relative porosity
and, large alumina size raises the relative density initially
and drops it later. The maximum density obtained was
99.95% which was achieved after sintering for 90 min at a
Sintering temperature of 600oC.
Increasing the amount and reducing the size of alumina
promote high hardness in the composite. Maximum
hardness of 79 HB was observed in the specimen
containing 20 wt. % alumina with average particle size of
3 m which was sintered For 45 min at 550oC.
Flow wear by accumulated plastic shear flow was
probably predominant wear mechanism in more
composite specimens.
D.P. Mondal, S. Das High (86) has studied stress abrasive
wear behavior of aluminium alloy (ADC-12)SiC particle
reinforced composites as a function of applied load,
reinforcement size and volume fraction, and has been
compared with that of the matrix alloy. Two different size
ranges (2550 and 5080 m) of SiC particles have been used
for synthesizing ADC-12SiC composite. The volume fraction
of SiC particles has been varied in the ranges from 5 to 15
wt%. It has been noted that the abrasive wear rate of the alloy
reduced considerably due to addition of SiCparticle and the
wear rate of composite decreases linearly with increase in SiC
content. It has also been noted that
Addition of ceramic reinforcement such as SiC particles
improves the wear resistance of the alloy. The
improvement in wear resistance of composite is a strong
function of reinforcement content and size of
The wear rate increases linearly with applied load
irrespective of the material and abrasive size. On the other
hand, the wear rate remains almost invariant with abrasive
size provided the wear mechanism remains unchanged.
Transition in wear mechanism from microcutting/plowing dominated to micro-cracking and -fracturing
dominated wear took place when abrasive size increased
from 100 to 120 mm.
The wear resistance increases linearly with increase in
SiC content and decreases with increase in reinforcement
size. The wear rate decreases linearly with increase in SiC
content provided the size of particles remains unchanged.

International Conference on Recent Advances in Mechanical Engineering and Interdisciplinary Developments [ICRAMID - 2014]

The RWR is proportional to inverse-square of the size of

SiC particles.

The wear rate decreases linearly with increase in

hardness. This signifies that hardness of the materials play
an important role in controlling their wear resistance.

5.0 Fabrication Barriers of Nano-Composites

As discussed above, different types of methods have
been used to fabricate MMNCs. Other than classifying the
processing routes based on the state in which the composites
are fabricated, the processing routes could also be classified
into ex-situ methods and in-situ methods based on the source
of particles.
Ex-situ methods, which include powder metallurgy, stirring
techniques, pressure infiltration and spray deposition, are
usually more cost-efficient. However, the particles are easy to
agglomerate and hard to be dispersed. Reinforcements created
in-situ are usually fine and well distributed, however, in-situ
reinforcement have less opportunity than ex-situ ones for
complex reactions involved in the in-situ fabrication routes
Fabrication of MMNCs are much more complex compared to
fabrication of MMCs. When the particle size scales down
from the micro to the nano level, the major challenges are
The reaction process between the bonding interfaces is
still unclear. Reaction effect will lead to the failure of
Agglomeration and clustering in bulk materials can still
be observed. The dispersion during processing needs to be
Cost effectiveness is another factor that hinders the
fabrication of nano composites. With the development of
nanotechnology, the prices of nanofabrication should be
Currently, low volume and rates are observed. A
transition to high volume and high rate fabrication is
pivotal to applying the technology to real industry
Different processes have been applied, however modeling
of these processes are needed.
6.0 Conclusions
Metal matrix composites reinforced with ceramic
nanoparticles, termed metal matrix nanocomposites, can
overcome the disadvantages of conventional metal matrix
composites, such as poor ductility and low fracture toughness.
The properties of MMNCs could be significantly improved
with a small amount of nanoparticles. There are numerous
possible applications of these materials, market fields ranging
from aerospace engineering to military industries. In this
paper, different kinds of fabrication routes and application for
metal matrix nanocomposites are reviewed. The processing
routes for MMNCs could be divided into ex-situ methods and
in-situ methods. Ex-situ methods are usually economically
efficient but the particles tend to agglomerate due to the poor
wettability between the matrix and reinforcement. The

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reinforcements generated in-situ are usually fine and

uniformly distributed, however, they are not cost-effective and
have less opportunities than ex-situ reinforcements for
complex reactions involved.
Besides the need for a cost-effective and energy-efficient route
for fabrication MMNCs, other issues, such as understanding of
the strengthening mechanism and bonding interface reaction,
also require to be solved.
As automakers strive to meet imposed fuel economy and
emissions regulations while producing vehicles with the
quality and amenities consumers expect, the industry needs to
rely on advancements made in the field of metal matrix
nanocomposites. By using materials developed at the auto
industry can customize high-strength, wear-resistant, and selflubricating lightweight MMNCs for specific applications to
make significant weight reductions and improve fuel
efficiency. The acceptance of the magnesium matrix
composites as engineering materials depends not only on the
performance advantages of the materials, but also on the
development of cost-effective processing technologies for
these materials.
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