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Aluminium matrix composites: Challenges and opportunities

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Aluminium matrix composites (AMCs) refer to the class of light weight high performance aluminium centric material systems. The reinforcement in AMCs could be in the form of continuous/discontinuous fibres, whisker or particulates, in volume fractions ranging from a few percent to 70%. Properties of AMCs can be tailored to the demands of different industrial applications by suitable combinations of matrix, reinforcement and processing route. Presently several grades of AMCs are manufactured by different routes. Three decades of intensive research have provided a wealth of new scientific knowledge on the intrinsic and extrinsic effects of ceramic reinforcement vis-a-vis physical, mechanical, thermo-mechanical and tribological properties of AMCs. In the last few years, AMCs have been utilised in high-tech structural and functional applications including aerospace, defence, automotive, and thermal management areas, as well as in sports and recreation. It is interesting to note that research on particle-reinforced cast AMCs took root in India during the 70’s, attained industrial maturity in the developed world and is currently in the process of joining the mainstream of materials. This paper presents an overview of AMC material systems on aspects relating to processing, microstructure, properties and applications.

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Surappa, M.K. Aluminium matrix composites: Challenges and opportunities. Sadhana 28, 319–334 (2003).

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