Innovative processing routes in manufacturing of metal matrix composite materials
Metal matrix composites (MMCs) belong to a group of modern materials owing to their excellent technological, mechanical, and physical properties such as excellent wear and corrosion resistance, high electrical and thermal conductivity, improved strength and hardness. Final properties of MMCs are affected equally by all steps of its manufacturing process. It is shown that by using adequate process parameters to obtain starting materials (reaching the specific size, shape, and reactivity) the control of volume fraction and distribution of reinforcements within the matrix can be achieved. For this purpose, mechanical alloying has been appointed as a good approach. MMCs can be produced using powder metallurgy, ingot metallurgy, and additive manufacturing techniques. Combining high-energy ball milling with these techniques enables the design of an innovative processing route for MMCs manufacturing. Mechanochemical process (achieved using high-energy ball milling) was employed in three manufacturing procedures: hot pressing, compocasting, and laser melting/sintering for obtaining of the suitable powder. These production routes for MMCs manufacturing were the subject of this work. The aim of MMCs design is to establish an optimal combination of production techniques merged into the cost-effective fabrication route for obtaining MMCs with required properties.
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