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Effect of aging on the mechanical properties of boron carbide particle reinforced aluminum metal matrix composites

Karakaş, Mustafa Serdar
Metal matrix composites (MMCs) of Al - 4 wt.% Cu reinforced with different volumetric fractions of B4C particles were produced by hot pressing. The effect of aging temperature on the age hardening response of the composites was studied and compared with the characteristics exhibited by the matrix alloy. Reinforcement addition was found to considerably affect the age hardening behavior. Detailed transmission electron microscopy and differential scanning calorimetry observations were made to understand the aging response of the composites. The low strain rate and high strain rate deformation behavior of the MMCs were determined utilizing low velocity transverse rupture tests and true armor-piercing steel projectiles, respectively. Increasing the volume fraction of B4C led to a decrease in flexural strength. The flexural strength vs. strain rate plots showed a slight increase in strength followed by a decrease for all samples. The mechanical performance of the composites and the unreinforced alloy were greatly improved by heat treatment. The MMCs were found to be inferior to monolithic ceramics when used as facing plates in armors.