Microstructure and Properties of Al₂O₃-Al(Si) and Al₂O₃-Al(Si)-Si Composites Formed by in Situ Reaction of Al with Aluminosilicate Ceramics


Al2O3-Al(Si) and Al2O3-Al(Si)-Si composites have been formed byin situ reaction of molten Al with aluminosilicate ceramics. This reactive metal penetration (RMP) process is driven by a strongly negative Gibbs energy for reaction. In the Al/mullite system, Al reduces mullite to produce α-Al2O3 and elemental Si. With excess Al (i.e., x > 0), a composite of α-Al2O3, Al(Si) alloy, and Si can be formed. Ceramic-metal composites containing up to 30 vol pct Al(Si) were prepared by reacting molten Al with dense, aluminosilicate ceramic preforms or by reactively hot pressing Al and mullite powder mixtures. Both reactive metal-forming techniques produce ceramic composite bodies consisting of a fine-grained alumina skeleton with an interpenetrating Al(Si) metal phase. The rigid alumina ceramic skeletal structure dominates composite physical properties such as the Young’s modulus, hardness, and the coefficient of thermal expansion, while the interpenetrating ductile Al(Si) metal phase contributes to composite fracture toughness. Microstructural analysis of composite fracture surfaces shows evidence of ductile metal failure of Al(Si) ligaments. Al2O3-Al(Si) and Al2O3-Al(Si)-Si composites produced byin situ reaction of aluminum with mullite have improved mechanical properties and increased stiffness relative to dense mullite, and composite fracture toughness increases with increasing Al(Si) content.


Materials Science and Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Physical Chemistry; Materials Science; Structural Materials; Metallic Materials; Ceramics; Glass; Composites; Natural Methods

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Article - Journal

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© 1996 ASM International, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 1996