Metal matrix composites (MMCs) can be synthesized by vapor phase, liquid phase, or solid phase processes. This article emphasizes the liquid-phase processing where solid reinforcements are incorporated in the molten metal or alloy melt that is allowed to solidify to form a composite. It illustrates the three broad categories of MMCs depending on the aspect ratio of the reinforcing phase. The categories include continuous fiber-reinforced composites, discontinuous or short fiber-reinforced composites, and particle-reinforced composites. The article discusses the two main classes of solidification processing of composites, namely, stir casting and melt infiltration. It describes the effects of reinforcement present in the liquid alloy on solidification. The article examines the automotive, space, and electronic packaging applications of MMCs. It concludes with information on development of select cast MMCs.
This article discusses the solidification of matrix alloy in cast metal matrix composites (MMCs). It begins with a discussion on the mixing techniques in reinforcement incorporation and wettability of reinforcement. It describes the solidification processes, such as stir mixing and melt infiltration, used in the synthesis of MMCs. The article also discusses the fundamentals of solidification process and presents a computational modeling of particle/solidification front interactions in metal-ceramic systems. The article concludes with information on nanocomposites.