Material selection and grade optimization applied to aluminum matrix composites

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A general model for the optimal use of materials based on structural optimization is derived. The competitiveness of materials is assessed with merit parameters. The competition between materials (material selection optimization) and the role of the composition and microstructure for a given material (grade optimization) are analyzed. The model is applied to aluminum matrix composites. The influence of matrix material, amount of reinforcement, and value of weight savings is studied. Mechanical properties are analyzed with the aid of published experimental data and available models. The Tsai-Halpin model is used to represent the variation of the elastic modulus with the amount of reinforcement. For yield strength the modified shear lag model is applied. It can satisfactorily describe experimental data and the variation with reinforcement for high-strength matrix alloys. For aluminum alloys of medium and lower strength, the observed increase is larger than the predicted one. This can be explained with the help of more recently developed micromechanical models that take into account the changes in microstructure in the matrix. For structural parts, large values of weight savings are usually necessary to make the particulate-reinforced composites competitive with carbon steel or their parent aluminum alloys. In other applications, combinations of properties are important to make the composites competitive.

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Eliasson, J., Sandström, R. Material selection and grade optimization applied to aluminum matrix composites. JMEP 4, 358–367 (1995).

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  • aluminum
  • material optimization
  • merit parameter
  • metal matrix