Aluminum, Metallic composites, Silicon carbide


Discontinuously reinforced MMCs with optimized microstructure are sought after for exceptional high strain rate behavior. The microstructure evolution of a stir-cast A359 aluminum composite reinforced with 30 vol.% SiCp after isothermal anneal, successive hot-rolling, and high strain rate deformation has been investigated. Quantitative microstructural analysis was carried out for the as-cast, annealed (470°C, 538°C and 570°C) and successively hot rolled specimens (64, 75, 88, and 96% rolling reductions). Selected composites were also examined after high strain rate deformation. X-ray diffraction, optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy were employed for microstructural characterization. The strength and ductility of the A359 Al alloys, and the composite, were greatly influenced by the brittle eutectic silicon phase and its morphology. Lamellar eutectic silicon spheroidized with isothermal anneal and successive hot rolling with a corresponding decrease in hardness. The hot rolling process also considerably decreased the SiC particle size (approximately 20% after 96% reduction) by breaking-up the hard SiC particles. However, this break-up of particles increased the homogeneity of SiCp size distribution. Successive hot rolling also healed voids due to solidification shrinkage, incomplete infiltration of molten Al and defects originating from fractured particles. Four selected specimens of composites were examined after high strain rate deformation. Fractography and metallographic analysis for the craters, voids, and relevant regions affected by the high velocity impact were carried out. The deposition of impact residuals was frequently iv observed on the exposed fracture surfaces. These residuals were typically observed as “moltenand-solidified” as a consequence of excessive heat generated during and after the damage. Particularly in regions of entry and exit of impact, intermixing of residuals and composite constituents were observed, demonstrating that the Al matrix of the composite also had melted. In all samples examined, cracks were observed to propagate through the eutectic Si network while a small number of broken reinforcement particles were observed. A slight variation in failure mechanisms was observed (e.g., radial, fragmentation, petalling) corresponding to the variation in ductility against high strain rate deformation. In selected specimens, parallel sub-cracks at the exit were observed at 45° and 30°. These sub-cracks were again filled with intermixed constituents from projectile residuals and composites. This observation suggests that the melting of composite constituents that leads to intermixing occured after the crack propagation and other damage.


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Graduation Date





Sohn, Yongho


Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering (M.S.M.S.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Materials Science Engineering

Degree Program

Materials Science and Engineering








Release Date

December 2011

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science, Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic