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Aluminium alloys and metal matrix composites by novel powder metallurgical processes

Research was carried out to develop new light aluminium alloys for application at elevated temperatures (300-350 C) in the automotive industry. Classical wrought, and precipitation hardened, aluminium based alloys lose their strength at about 150 C and do not fulfil requirements.

A process of double mechanical alloying has been developed with a reaction stage using elementary or prealloyed powders by which aluminium alloys could be used at elevated temperatures in the automotive sector. Ductility, however, has to be improved. This route, preferable to the alternative of in situ microfusion, is expensive and can be used only when there is no alternative. Neither the effectiveness nor the cost implicit in the objective were maximised or minimised. The project was completed within schedule but more costly and riskier research would have to be carried out if a satisfactory alloy is to be obtained.

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