MMC sheets have been produced by spraying or powder mixing and hot pressing followed by an extrusion and hot plus cold rolling process. The target properties, defined as yield strength > 500 MPa, tensile strength > 600 MPa, elongation > 3% and Young's modulus > 100 GPa, were obtained using the Osprey technique as well as the PM route. After spraying N202/SiC/20p was stopped by Alusuisse-Lonza, the project is now concentrating on PM-2024/SiC/20p and PM-7021/SiC/20p. Tests which have been carried out on machining, corrosion, forming and joining behaviour showed that nearly all conventional and also advanced manufacturing techniques can be applied to MMC material. However, for some processes, especially hot and cold forming, rather high expenditure is needed compared to conventional alloys. Consequently, further parameter optimization and improvement of the material quality is necessary. Two ways of producing a stiffened sample structure have been realized. A combination of hot forming and riveting as well as hot forming combined with diffusion bonding was applied.
This project intends to develop the necessary technology basis for the production of sheets and sheet structures made from particulate reinforced Metal Matrix Composites (MCC). Particulate reinforced Aluminium is currently the only cost effective MMC which allows the production of improved stiffened structures by taking advantage of the high stiffness values.
Most activities -mainly performed in the USA and Japan - have so far been concentrated on the production of forgings or extrusions. Little attention has been paid to the development of MCC sheets, even though many stiffness critical parts have a sheet type geometry. MCC sheet structures may become a substitute for Titanium, Aluminium and carbon fibre reinforced plastics and will account for significant weight savings.
This will lead to improved performance of all kinds of transportation systems but especially for air- and spacecraft. General engineering applications may include automatic handling devices or machining systems with faster and closer positioning and electronic packaging with tailored thermal expansion.
Within the project a European production route for MCC sheet and processes for secondary manufacturing (forming, joining, etc.) will be developed. The material properties will be established, the numerical process modelling will be enhanced and stiffened sample structures will be produced.
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