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Microstructural Architectures Of Metal Matrix Composites

2016-10-13
 
       An effective way to improve the properties and performance of metallic materials is to form metal matrix composites (MMCs). However, traditional MMCs are characterized by a uniform spatial distribution of constituent phases and microstructures, which is unfavourable to fully take advantage of the synergistic, coupling, reinforcing effects, and multi-functional response mechanisms from the different phases of the composites. In recent years, materials scientists throughout the world have gradually realized the importance of microstructural architecture for the improvement of the overall mechanical properties of metal matrix composites, where studies show that nonuniform architectures are more favorable to take full advantage of the coupling effect of the constituent phases and subsequently realize their reinforcing potential for various properties of the composites. In this paper, the development of the architectured MMCs was reviewed first, and it was proposed that the delicate architectures in hard biological materials may inspire the design of advanced MMCs with superior properties. This concept has been verified in graphene-aluminum (Al) and carbon nanotube (CNT)-Al composite systems, where the composites were shown to have significantly enhanced mechanical properties than the unreinforced matrix materials, and have a balanced strength-ductility/toughness synergy. Before closing the discussion, this paper overviewed the perspective of architectured MMCs and proposed that, by using state-of-art micro-/nano-scaled characterization tools combined with site-specific microstructural analysis, the deformation mechanism and the  property-structure correlation can be pinpointed, leading to improved design and tailoring of architectured MMCs.