Microstructure Characterization of Aluminium Syntactic Functionally Graded Composites Containing Hollow Ceramic Microspheres Manufactured by Radial Centrifugal Casting
Syntactic functionally graded metal matrix composites (SFGMMC) are a class of metallic foams in which closed porosity results from the presence of hollow ceramic microspheres (microballoons), whose spatial distribution varies continuously between the inner and the outer section of the part, thus resulting in a continuous variation in properties. In this work, aluminiumbased SFGMMC rings were fabricated by radial centrifugal casting. The graded composition along the radial direction is controlled mainly by the difference in the centrifugal forces which act on the molten metal matrix and the ceramic particles, due to their dissimilar densities. In this case where the density of the SiO2-Al2O3 microballoons is lower than that of molten aluminium, the particles show a tendency to remain closer to the inner periphery of the ring. Thus the microballoon volume fraction increases along the radial direction of the ring from the outer to the inner periphery; in other words, the particle-rich zone is limited to an inner layer of the ring. Precursor conventional MMCs were prepared by stir-casting from the constituent materials, by homogeneously dispersing commercial SiO2-Al2O3 microballoons (particle size: 50 µm; particle volume fraction: 5 and 10 %) within a molten commercial Al-7Si-0.3Mg (A356) alloy. The resulting MMCs were then re-melt and centrifugally cast in order to produce the functionally graded composites. Particle gradients in the centrifugally cast composites were investigated by quantitative image analysis of optical micrographs (for the estimation of the particle volume fraction, mean particle diameter and porosity volume fraction).
António Torres Marques, António Fernando Silva, António Paulo Monteiro Baptista, Carlos Sá, Fernando Jorge Lino Alves, Luís Filipe Malheiros and Manuel Vieira
S.C. Ferreira et al., "Microstructure Characterization of Aluminium Syntactic Functionally Graded Composites Containing Hollow Ceramic Microspheres Manufactured by Radial Centrifugal Casting", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 587-588, pp. 207-211, 2008