Damage evolution in SiC particle reinforced Al alloy matrix composites by X-ray synchrotron tomography

J. J. Williams, Z. Flom, A. A. Amell, Nikhilesh Chawla, X. Xiao, F. De Carlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Metal matrix composites (MMCs) have a combination of high strength, high stiffness, and low density. The damage behavior of MMCs has been studied extensively by a combination of traditional mechanical testing, microstructural characterization, and postexperiment fractographic analysis. X-ray tomography is an excellent technique that eliminates destructive cross-sectioning, and allows for superior resolution and image quality with minimal sample preparation. In this work, we have carried out a detailed investigation of the damage behavior of SiC particle reinforced 2080 Al alloy matrix composites by X-ray synchrotron tomography. This work is unique, relative to the existing work in the literature, because it: (a) focuses on a technologically relevant MMC system (2080/SiCp), (b) uses a combination of image analysis techniques to enable visualization and damage characterization, and (c) entails a significant amount of quantitative and statistical analyses of particle fracture and void growth in the composite. A statistically significant number of particles and volume of the composite were characterized, enabling a meaningful and realistic interpretation of the results. Based on this, a detailed understanding of the micromechanisms of fracture and the quantitative influence of particle size and aspect ratio were obtained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6194-6205
Number of pages12
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number18
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Metal matrix composite
  • Particle fracture
  • Void growth
  • X-ray synchrotron
  • X-ray tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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