SiCf/SiC composites reinforced by randomly oriented chopped fibers prepared by semi-solid mechanical stirring method and hot pressing
SiC short fibers, with an average diameter of 13 μm, length of 300–1,000 μm and chopped from SiC continuous fibers, were surface modified by the semi-solid mechanical stirring method to produce a discrete coating of aluminum particles. Then the starting mixtures, which consist of SiC short composite fibers, aluminum powder less than 50 μm and α-SiC powder of an average diameter of 0.6 μm, were mechanically mixed in ethanol for about 3 h, dried at 80 °C in air, and hot pressed under 30 MPa pressure at 1,650, 1,750 and 1,850 °C with 1 h holding time to prepare SiCf/SiC composites. Volume fraction of SiC short fibers in the starting powder for SiCf/SiC composites was about 25 vol.%. The composites were characterized in terms of bulk density, phase composition, and mechanical properties at room temperature. In addition, the distribution of SiC short fibers in the matrix and the cracking pattern in the composites were examined by optical microscope. Fracture surface of the composites were performed by a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The effect of hot-pressing temperature on bulk density and mechanical properties was investigated. The results indicated that SiC short fibers were uniformly and randomly distributed in the matrix, bending strength and bulk density of the composites increased with increasing sintering temperature. The composite, hot-pressed at 1,850 °C, exhibited the maximum bulk density and bending strength at room temperature, about 3.01 g/cm3 and 366 MPa, respectively. SEM analyses showed that there were a few of fiber pullout on the fracture surface of samples sintered at 1,650 °C and 1,750 °C, which was mainly attributed to lower densities. But few of fiber pullout was observed on the fracture surface of sample sintered at 1,850 °C, the combined effects of high temperature and a long sintering time were considered as a source of too severe fiber degradation because of the large amount of oxygen in the fibers.
KeywordsFracture Toughness Aluminum Particle Composite Powder Short Fiber Aluminum Powder
We would like to thank Prof. C. G. Fan, L. J. Rong and Y. Y. Li from Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, for providing us with facilities and their valuable help in the preparation of this manuscript and technical assistance.
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