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Development of aluminium locally reinforced components with composite inserts

Objective



European commercial industries need the development of lighter components with improved characteristics and easy recyclability for the next future, in order to develop more effficient products with reduced pollutant emmisions, at low cost. In this way, the industrial aim of the present project is to obtain low cost components with improved properties in the needed areas. In order to reach this goal, a suitable production process for the manufacturing of aluminium based components locally reinforced with composite inserts, in the zones where an improvement of some properties is required, will be developed. Two different types of composite inserts will be used for this purpose: inserts made of commercial discontinuous metal matrix composites (MMCs) ingots, formed by gravity casting into the desired shape, and porous preforms made of low cost discontinuous reinforcements such as alumina short fibers, graphite particles or others. Two high productivity casting techniques have been previously selected as the most interesting: Low pressure casting and High pressure die casting, which are traditionally and widely employed for the manufacturing of several industrial components in commercial sectors, specially in the automotive one. The use of local composite reinforcements with the casting techniques selected will allow to manufacture lighter components (saving weight of 50% over cast iron) with improved properties in the required areas, at a low price in comparison with the same components fully made of a MMC (a fully made composite component cost is 2.5 times the cost of the aluminium one). The final cost will not be higher than 1.2 times the price of the same aluminium component. Moreover, the cost due to the machining will be markedly reduced since only localized small areas will be reinforced with composite inserts. These areas show better mechanical properties at high temperatures, and specially better wear behaviour, among other interesting advantages, which allow to increase the service life to more than 40.000 Km, which is the current practice with cast iron products. The technology considered could also open up an important market of applications for aluminium alloys, since applications which are not presently feasible due to their low mechanical or wear properties compared with steel or cast iron, could be produced with light aluminium alloys partially reinforced with composite inserts. The consortium comprises two aluminium foundries specialized in low pressure casting and high pressure die casting, one car maker, a car components supplier, a company involved in the production of short fiber based components for several applications, a company specialized in the machining of automotive components, and a R&D centre with large experience in the development of MMCs. The Brite-Euram areas covered by this proposal are: Area 2 (2.1.1 .S., 2.1.2.S., 2.1 .3.S. and 2.1 .2.M.).

Funding Scheme

CRS - Cooperative research contracts

Coordinator

Manufacturas Aluminio Pamplona - Sector Automación
Address
11,Carretera De Echauri 11
31160 Orcoyen
Spain

Participants (6)

AP Racing
United Kingdom
Address
Wheler Road
CV3 4LB Coventry
Caterham Cars Ltd
United Kingdom
Address
Station Avenue
CR3 6LB Caterham
Cityday Ltd. T/A Brake Engineering
United Kingdom
Address
Redwither Road
LL13 9RD Wrexham
Fundación INASMET Asociación de Investigación Metalúrgica del País Vasco
Spain
Address
12,Camino De Portuetxe 12
20009 San Sebastián
Izurza Productos Caloriugos SL
Spain
Address
S/n,b(r) Elizalde S/n
48213 Izurza-durango
Manzoni Bouchot Fonderie
France
Address

39206 St Claude