University of Manchester

Next-Generation Metal Matrix composites for Space Launch Applications

Luke Rollings

Scientific Case

Metal Matrix Composites are high performance materials, often used for the aerospace sector due to their high specific stiffness and fatigue resistance. This project focuses on the characterisation and optimisation of aluminium-matrix, silicon carbide fibre composites, a relatively undeveloped composite system. The initial stages of this project require the use of x-ray imaging and analysis to observe the behaviour of the matrix/fibre interface, a property that closely determines the overall strength of the material. Single-fibre and single-ply samples of Al/SiC have been prepared, and must be observed by 2D radiography to ensure their quality in terms of the evaluation of defects that may be present, before characterisation by 3D synchrotron X-Ray analysis can be carried out.

Experiment Design

The pieces to be analysed are panels of 6061 Aluminium alloy, containing either single fibres or a single ply of SCS-6 silicon carbide produced by TISICS. The panels will be of dimensions of approximately 200x150mm and 1mm thick, containing 140um diameter fibres. Both samples require one 2D radiograph each, with the intention of picking out manufacturing defects. These will likely culminate around the fibres, for instance as pores or cracks. The defects will be of order of magnitude of 1s-10s of microns.

After radiography is complete, the panels will be sent to TISICS to be machined by EDM into dog-bone tensile testing samples, returned to UoM to be taken to ESRF. 3D X-Ray Tomography and strain mapping will be carried out on the samples throughout fibre fracture testing [Preuss et al., 2002, Acta Materialia 50; McDonald et al., 2002, Materials Science and Technology 18:12]
Scanners and Rigs
Xradia VersaXCT
Not Required

Sample & Safety

2 panels, Aluminium alloy 6061 containing uniaxial SCS-6 silicon carbide fibres. One panel will contain individual single fibres, one will contain a single ply of fibres. Both produced by a foil-fibre Hot Isostatic Pressing technique. Panels up to 200x150mm, 1mm thick. Fibres 140um in diameter
Low Hazard

Scan Records

Project Report