Research objectives and content
In the nowaday competition to produce lighter materials with outstanding properties, liquid metal infiltration is a promising method which could produce high quality metal matrix composites at a very low price. The process consists in the injection and subsequent solidification of liquid metal in the pores of a ceramic preform, using cheap liquid metal and generally used casting equipment.
The proposed research is the development of a simulation software able to optimize the process parameters (pressure, temperature, solidification rate) as well as to predict the microstructure, the homogeneity and the residual stresses of the produced part. Such a tool should enable this processing route to reach its full potential.
In order to achieve this task, it will be necessary to first identify and quantify the physical phenomena which interplay during infiltration, including flow through porous media, wetting, heat transfer, phase change and interfacial reactions.
Preliminary results, obtained through adaptation of a FEM software developped at Ecole Centrale Paris for soil infiltration and mechanics show great promise and shall be continued.
At each stage of the development, results will be confronted to experimental observations performed in cooperation with
Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen (Austria) and Aerospatiale Suresnes (France), which both have suitable infiltration equipment.
Training content (object, benefit and expected impact)
In covering the whole infiltration process, the candidate will receive, during his PhD Thesis, training in both practical aspects of research and numerical modelling. He will be getting exposure to research in Materials Sciences and Soil Mechanics, as well as to an industrial environment both in France and Austria.