Metal Matrix Composites

In metal matrix composites, a metal is combined with another, often nonmetallic, phase to produce a novel material having attractive engineering attributes of its own. A subject of much research in the 1980s and 1990s, this class of materials has, in the past decade, increased significantly in variety. Copper matrix composites, layered composites, high-conductivity composites, nanoscale composites, microcellular metals, and bio-derived composites have been added to a palette that, ten years ago, mostly comprised ceramic fiber or particle-reinforced light metals together with some well-established engineering materials, such as WC-Co cermets. At the same time, research on composites such as particle-reinforced aluminum, aided by novel techniques such as large-cell 3-D finite element simulation or computed X-ray microtomography, has served as a potent vehicle for the elucidation of the mechanics of high-contrast two-phase elastoplastic materials, with implications that range well beyond metal matrix composites.


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