Nanoscale Powders for the Manufacture of Al Composites (ARL Funded)


Additions of particles in the form of nanoscale powders to aluminum alloys can improve properties such as strength, stiffness, and wear resistance. Potential applications of these improved aluminum alloys are for lightweighting in the automotive and aerospace industries. Generally, the smaller the powder particle the greater the improvement of the property in question. However, small powder particles have a larger surface area to volume ratio, making them hard to disperse properly in liquid melts. A proprietary production method of making powders of different compositions allows for a powder that is coated in a salt which can be useful as a flux when mixing it in with liquid aluminum. A flux coating will allow for proper wetting and dispersion of the powder to the liquid aluminum. The purpose of this project is to determine how well these powders disperse into aluminum and the potential improvement of the new alloys properties.