Fiber-Spacing Effects in the Solidification Processing of Metal Matrix Composites

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M. M. Guslick, J. E. Simpson, and S. V. Garimella, “Fiber-Spacing Effects in the Solidification Processing of Metal Matrix Composites,” Numerical Heat Transfer A, Vol. 35, No. 6, pp. 587-607, 1999.


The effects of the presence and packing geometry of reinforcing fibers in a solidifying aluminum matrix are investigated. Particular attention is paid to the effect of changes in the fiber pitch on the thermal field and thus on the propagation of the solidification front. Results of simulation s for both low- and high-conductivity ( alumina and copper) fibers are presented. For fibers in an in-line configuration , a critical fiber spacing is identified: a fiber pitch smaller than this critical value causes increasing front distortion with each additional fiber that the front passes. When the fiber pitch is at or greater than the critical value, the solidification front has a sufficient distance in which to return to an essentially planar shape. The critical fiber pitch for alumina and copper fibers is approximately 2.5 and 2 fiber diameters, respectively. For staggered fibers, the behavior of the propagating solidification front is more complex, and changes to the critical spacing due to fiber staggering are discussed.

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