Modern day composite materials create amazing structures with their light weight and high strength. In a typical composite, high strength fibers are embedded in a matrix of resin or thermoplastic. Imagine what would happen if the matrix could be a metal such as a high strength aluminum? The possibility of a metal matrix composite (MMC) that is easily weldable and has tolerance to surface damage would be exciting in many industries.
Embedding reinforcing members such as boron and silicon carbide fibers or stainless steel meshes into metal matrices is simple with Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing. Since the process can be interrupted and modified at any point, structural components can be augmented into any metal matrix to form superior, high performance composite structures. These advanced materials can be stiff and lightweight, the perfect combination for high stress, weight-critical environments.
Fabrisonic has experience printing MMC’s using continuous ceramic fibers. The continuous fibers can be embedded in solid aluminum using UAM and the aluminum will completely extrude around the fibers. This creates a high pull out strength allowing the fibers to carry significant load through a structure. Parts can be printed with fibers at high-stress regions. Plates has been made with up to fifty percent by volume fiber. As with any composite, every layer can be oriented in a different direction to maximize strength for a given application.
Numerous reinforcing materials of different sizes and shapes can be embedded in solid metal.