Magnesium and aluminum alloys are gaining more recognition as a lightest structural material for light-weight applications due to their low density and high stiffness-to-weight ratio. In spite of this, such alloys have not been used for critical mechanical applications mainly due to their inferior mechanical properties compared to other engineering materials such as steel. Hence, many researchers have attempted to reinforce these alloys and obtain light-weight materials with excellent mechanical properties. Thermomechanical treatments are often used to improve the mechanical properties of light alloys, however at the cost of faster corrosion and wear. The reinforcement process of the alloy is achieved by introducing another material to form magnesium- and aluminum-based metal matrix composites. Different studies show that such composites exhibit improved properties. In recent years, ceramic nanoparticles have been used to reinforce different metallic materials to form the metal matrix composites. The introduction of nanomaterials into the metal matrix is rather difficult due to the harsh manufacturing conditions employed for processing the metal composites.
The group of Prof. Reshef Tenne has developed state-of-the-art magnesium- and aluminum-based metal matrix composites, comprising small amounts of inorganic nanomaterials, such as nanotubes and spherical nanoparticles. The new nanocomposites exhibit much superior mechanical properties compared to the pristine alloy.
· Automotive, transportation, and aerospace industries
· Jet engine technologies
· Medical technologies
- Light-weight metal alloys
- Excellent mechanical properties
- Straight-forward fabrication technique
Magnesium and aluminum alloys were combined with small amounts (up to 1 wt%) of either tungsten disulfide nanotubes or inorganic fullerene-like tungsten disulfide nanoparticles to form metal matrix composites using a melt-stirring reactor operated at >700?C. The nanostructures were remarkably stable at these elevated processing temperatures and were found to be uniformly distributed. Despite the small amounts of added nanostructures, their addition led to remarkable improvements in the mechanical properties of the alloys. Surprisingly, both the tensile strength of the alloys and their elongation (and consequently the fracture toughness) were improved by 10-20%.