Over recent years, aluminium composite materials have attracted increasing
interest as potential candidates for replacing conventional monolithic alloys in
a variety of structural applications where the weight of structural materials is
critical. However, the lack of a satisfactory and cost effective technique,
especially for the production of complex shaped aluminium MMC
components, has prohibited widespread commercial use of these materials.
This is a main driving force behind the performance of the present research
which had the following two main objectives:-
1) The development of a novel casting technique based on the use of an EPS
pattern mould and a counter-gravity mould filling. This involved the design
and manufacture of a special casting unit.
2) The evaluation of the proposed casting technique compared with a gravity
pouring EPC method through a series of casting trials using both a
Duralcan (reinforced with 15 vo!. % SiC particles) and an aluminium alloy
(LM25). This included the evaluation of casting soundness, tensile
properties at ambient temperature, microstructure, and fracture surface of
tensile tested specimens...cont'd.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.