Wetting improvement may be achieved by coating the dispersed phase particles (fibers). Proper coating not only reduces interfacial energy, but also prevents chemical interaction between the dispersed phase and the matrix.
The methods of liquid state fabrication of Metal Matrix Composites:
Stir Casting is a liquid state method of composite materials fabrication, in which a dispersed phase (ceramic particles, short fibers) is mixed with a molten matrix metal by means of mechanical stirring.
Stir Casting is the simplest and the most cost effective method of liquid state fabrication.
Stir Casting is characterized by the following features:
1. There are local clouds (clusters) of the dispersed particles (fibers);
2. There may be gravity segregation of the dispersed phase due to a difference in the densities of the dispersed and matrix phase.
Distribution of dispersed phase may be improved if the matrix is in semi-solid condition.
The method using stirring metal composite materials in semi-solid state is called Rheocasting.
High viscosity of the semi-solid matrix material enables better mixing of the dispersed phase.
Infiltration is a liquid state method of composite materials fabrication, in which a preformed dispersed phase (ceramic particles, fibers, woven) is soaked in a molten matrix metal, which fills the space between the dispersed phase inclusions.
The motive force of an infiltration process may be either capillary force of the dispersed phase (spontaneous infiltration) or an external pressure (gaseous, mechanical, electromagnetic, centrifugal or ultrasonic) applied to the liquid matrix phase (forced infiltration).
Infiltration is one of the methods of preparation of tungsten-copper composites.
The principal steps of the technology are as follows:
Gas Pressure Infiltration is a forced infiltration method of liquid phase fabrication of Metal Matrix Composites, using a pressurized gas for applying pressure on the molten metal and forcing it to penetrate into a preformed dispersed phase.
Gas Pressure Infiltration method is used for manufacturing large composite parts.
The method allows using non-coated fibers due to short contact time of the fibers with the hot metal.
In contrast to the methods using mechanical force, Gas Pressure Infiltration results in low damage of the fibers.
Squeeze Casting Infiltration is a forced infiltration method of liquid phase fabrication of Metal Matrix Composites, using a movable mold part (ram) for applying pressure on the molten metal and forcing it to penetrate into a performed dispersed phase, placed into the lower fixed mold part.
Squeeze Casting Infiltration process has the following steps:
The method is used for manufacturing simple small parts (automotive engine pistons from aluminum alloy reinforced by alumina short fibers).
Pressure Die Infiltration is a forced infiltration method of liquid phase fabrication of Metal Matrix Composites, using a Die casting technology, when a preformed dispersed phase (particles, fibers) is placed into a die (mold) which is then filled with a molten metal entering the die through a sprue and penetrating into the preform under the pressure of a movable piston (plunger).