Discontinuously reinforced aluminum alloys are viewed as candidate materials for elevated temperature applications because of their attractive high temperature strength properties and wear resistance. The elevated temperature elastic properties and the failure characteristics in relation to the preform flaws, however, have not received much attention in spite of their potential significance. These issues are studied for an aluminum-silicon alloy reinforced with mullite discontinuous fibers, fabricated using the squeeze infiltration technique. The effect of preform flaws (shot) on room temperature strength and ductility is investigated for composites seeded with different amounts of shot. The Young's modulus of the composite exceeds that of the unreinforced alloy over a wide range of temperatures, and the beneficial influence of the fibers is especially significant at elevated temperatures. The primary contribution to the reduction in the modulus of the composite at higher temperatures is shown to be the degradation in the matrix stiffness. Reinforcing the alloy with mullite fibers results in only a moderate improvement in strength at room temperature but the elongation to failure is reduced considerably. Increasing the amount of shot, although not appreciably degrading strength, further reduces the ductility. Shot is found to play an important role in the damage evolution by fracturing early in the loading process, and thus, the composite integrity when subjected to slow stable crack growth, as in fatigue, for example, could be adversely affected.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ceramics and Composites
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Materials Chemistry