Student Research

Corrosion Studies of Ceramic and Metal Matrix Composites

Ceramic-ceramic composites have high compressive strengths and superior erosion and wear resistance relative to metallic alloys. Potential applications for these novel materials include pump components, bearings and other applications where a combination of erosion and corrosion resistance are required. Ceramic oxides are the most commonly used because they are thermodynamically very stable; however, non-oxide ceramics, e.g., carbides and nitrides, are also fairly stable in aqueous environments. Metal matrix composites (MMCs) combine the high thermal conductivity and high tensile strength of a metal with the hardness and wear/erosion resistance of ceramics. Potential applications of MMCs include automobile brake rotors where ductile, lightweight and wear resistant material is required. Two distinct processes were used to produce ceramic and metal matrix composites. Directed Metal Oxidation (DIMOXTM) was utilized to produce aluminum oxide/silicon carbide (Al2O3/SiC) composites of various geometries that require minimal machining. Pressureless infiltration of filler preforms with molten aluminum alloys (PRIMEXTM) was utilized to produce Al-matrix composites reinforced with SiC particulates. The results will be summarized and discussed.