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Development of nanoparticulate-reinforced metals

The aim of this project is the development of nanoparticulate-reinforced metals for fabrication of structural parts. Because of its unique properties, carbide-based nanopowders can enhance the mechanical performance of metal alloys.

To achieve this goal, a uniform dispersion of nanopowders in the metal matrix is necessary, but agglomeration is a current issue. Nanoparticles with sizes in the range 20-30 nm will be processed by a plasma process. The feasibility of obtaining a uniform dispersion of nanoparticles in a metal matrix by high energy ball milling will be assessed. This technique produces metal-ceramic composite powders, which will be shaped by compaction and sintering. Alternative net-shaping techniques as Metal Injection Moulding and Rapid Prototyping will be investigated to obtain parts of complex geometry from the composite powders. The composite microstructure and the mechanical properties will be characterized and optimized.

A full summary of the project results is available at the Gebert Rüf Stiftung web site.