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A hot isostatic pressing fabrication technique for particulate-reinforced metal matrix composites
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Recent years have seen the development of a wide range of metal matrix composites (MMCs). Until recently, the primary support for these composites had come from the aerospace and defense industry. Now as current materials reach their performance limits, more commercial products will be manufactured from MMCS. At the present time, there appears to be no definite leader in composite processing techniques which merge low-cost and high performance standards. As composite material technologies mature, powder metallurgy provides a flexible process for manufacturing a wide variety of composites with tailored microstructures. In this research, particulate-reinforced metal matrix composites were manufactured by powder metallurgy using a hot isostatic pressing fabrication process. Two different matrix materials, 304L stainless steel and iron, were investigated with silicon carbide as the reinforcing phase. Several techniques were employed to improve upon the HIPing process by increasing mechanical properties and lowering fabrication costs. An effective HIP can was designed so as to accommodate structural testing of the metal matrix composites and minimize the machining necessary. An encapsulation method was then developed to enhance the matrix and density. Finally, after HIP process values which merge low-cost by minimizing time and inert gas were selected, a machining process was developed to further increase the effectiveness of the process. The composite specimens were structurally tested in order to evaluate the procedure. At room temperature, the results indicated values of Young's modulus similar to those of the pure monolithic matrix metal. No increase in Young's modulus resulted from the addition of the silicon carbide reinforcement. Although both the metal matrix composite specimens demonstrated increased strength and stiffness. The specimens with 304L stainless steel matrix material exhibited excessive brittle behavior. This was probably caused by chromium carbides forming at the interface. As shown by scanning electron micrographs, no porosity was detected as a result of the fabrication process; the silicon carbide and matrix bonded well. Furthermore, a good bond was also achieved between the composite and the HIP canister which aided in optimizing the mechanical properties.
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McRea, Shana Aline (1994). A hot isostatic pressing fabrication technique for particulate-reinforced metal matrix composites. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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