Reactions in Al2O3Mg metal matrix composites during prolonged heat treatment at 400, 550 and 600°C

Bengt Hallstedt, Zi Kui Liu, John Ågren

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Al2O3Mg metal matrix composites were heat treated for up to several hundred hours at 400, 550 and 600 °C. Samples were prepared and studied using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopu. At the two higher temperatures extensive reaction between δ-Al2O3 fibres and the Mg matrix had occurred after 200-300 h. During this time Mg and Al2O3 reacted to form MgO (but not spinel) and Al, which dissolved into the matrix. When the Al solubility in solid Mg was exceeded, liquid started to form. The formation of liquid probably started locally, i.e. long before the bulk matrix composition reached the solubility limit, possibly in metallic films separating growing MgO-grains from shrinking δ-Al2O3 grains, thus increasing the reaction rate drastically. At the end of these heat treatments a major part of the matrix was liquid. Upon cooling the liquid formed a eutectic structure consisting of h.c.p.-Mg and the intermetallic γ-phase. H.c.p.-Mg here refers to solid Mg which has the h.c.p.-structure and dissolves Al. In parallel with the reaction between Mg and Al2O3, there was a continuous coarsening of MgO and very large faceted grains were found. Below the eutectic temperature (437 °C) in the AlMg system liquid can no longer form and an abrupt decrease in reaction rate is expected. Consequently, no reaction was observed after 740 h at 400 °C. It may thus be concluded that long-term service at elevated temperature will not lead to extensive reaction between matrix and fibres as long as the temptemperature is below 437 °C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering A
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 15 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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