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Composite Materials

In most engineering applications, a combination of strength, lightness, stiffness, high temperature stability, corrosion resistance, high hardness, adequate wear resistance and perhaps a multitude of other properties are required which can not be met by a single monolithic material.

One way of keeping up with such demand is to introduce new materials by combining the existing materials to fabricate a new class of advanced materials, the so-called ”Composites”. Obviously, such combination is directly dependent on the end use of the fabricated material, which may be interpreted as tailoring the new materials to meet the requirements in its strictest meaning.

According to our mission as an industry-oriented research group, the selected research topics have immediate industrial applications. The topics are broadly classified in the following groups:

  • Fabrication techniques, new innovative routes
  • Novel Metal Matrix Composites
  • Intermetallic Matrix Composites

The fabrication route is dependent on the matrix and the reinforcement, such as solid matrix-solid reinforcement (diffusion bonding and powder metallurgy), liquid or partially liquid matrix with solid reinforcement (squeeze casting, die casting, rheocasting, and vacuum casting), vapour matrix and solid reinforcement (deposition techniques including sputtering, ion implantation, and chemical and physical vapour deposition, etc) and insitu synthesising where the matrix (molten or powder preform) is exposed to reactive gases or metals to form the reinforcement.

Novel materials such as those containing elements with high cross section for absorbing thermal neutrons such as Cadmium (Cd), Gadolinium (Gd) or boron (B) have attracted nuclear industry for applications such as storage and transportation of radioactive materials.

As for intermetallic matrix composites, they are of particular interest, due to the superior characteristics of the matrix, as given below. It opens a new field in materials selection with intermetallics being employed as structural materials.

  • High creep resistance, especially when reinforced with ceramic fibres
  • Strength at high temperatures
  • High modulus of elasticity
  • High melting temperature
  • Corrosion and oxidation resistance
  • Lower density, when compared with alloy steels and super alloys
  • Economical use of strategic and expensive elements

The followings are samples of research projects carried out by members of AMRG:

  1. Fabrication and Characterisation of Intermetallic Matrix Composites, case study
  2. Al-Ni/Al2O3 Intermetallic Matrix Composites
  3. Iron-based Metal Matrix Composites
  4. Alumina and Silicon Carbide Reinforced Iron-based Metal Matrix Composites.
  5. Part substitution of cobalt powder with aluminum in WC-Co Cermets
  6. Al/B4C, Al/B4C/Ti composite with potential application in waste management in nuclear industry

For more information on specific projects, consult publication list or contact us.

Structures and Materials Group (SMG)
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THE UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE
SA 5005 AUSTRALIA

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