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Metal Matrix Composites


Metal Matrix Composites Reinforced by Ultra Fine Particles with High Hardness

Tech Area / Field

  • MAT-ALL/High Performance Metals and Alloys/Materials
  • MAT-COM/Composites/Materials
  • MAT-SYN/Materials Synthesis and Processing/Materials

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • NIKIMT (Institute of Assembly Technology), Russia, Moscow


  • Universidade da Coruña / Escola Politécnica Superior, Spain, Ferrol\nDrexel University / Drexel Nanotechnology Institute, USA, PA, Philadelphia

Project summary

Project title: Metal matrix composites reinforced by ultra fine particles with high hardness.

The project purpose:

The project purpose is to develop new composite materials of soft matrix class (copper, aluminum), armed with high-fast nano-powder reinforcement; (nano-diamond, silicon carbide and boron nitride…), to study their physical and mechanical properties and to increase their application areas.


Discovered in 20th century nano-scaled structures of substances (carbon pipes, molecular motors, assemblies of nano-DNA, quantum points, molecular switches, etc.), as well as new phenomena (magnet-resistive effect) open new prospects in scientific developments. Technologists create and apply functional materials, systems and machines to control materials’ properties in ultra-fine scale. Technologies of obtaining ultra-fine materials (UFM) suppose direct control of materials and devices on atomic or molecular level, previously inaccessible. Production of functional ultra-fine structures with intended properties, synthesis and treatment of ultra-fine particles, supramolecular chemistry, self-creating and replicate engineering, obtaining ultra-fine structured metal alloys and composites can have a revolutionary impact in almost all human activities.

It is well known that most materials in nano-scale state obtain new physical properties or some their specific properties enhance. Theoretical and experimental researches revealed, that there is principal possibility to obtain very different ultra-fine conditioned materials: pure metals and alloys, inter-metallic joints, oxides, composite materials, etc.

Further development of technologies for several materials production with use of ultra-fine particles additions depends mostly on great difficulties in storage and use of metal- and others single-component and heterogeneous systems. The ultra-fine materials as a part of composite must have a compact structure with minimal defect number and a contact with different macro- and micro-crystalline grains within material. Moreover, because of very low wettability highly rigid materials (silicon- and boron carbides, boron nitride, synthetic diamonds, etc.) are not practically suitable for composite materials obtaining by metallurgic means. That is why to obtain these composites it is necessary to develop new methods of mixing and compacting ultra-fine metal particles mixtures.

Nano diamond is a prospecting ultra-fine material, which can be applied as a additive to composites. One of the most widely spread ways to obtain synthetic diamond nano-powders is a detonation process with use of explosive substances, which themselves serve as sources of carbon for diamond phase forming. It is possible to use several ways (both mechanical or plasma-chemical ones) for UF particles obtaining from silicon carbide or boron nitride.

One of the most promising directions of creating new materials is development of new composition materials of the soft matrix class, armed with high-fast nano-powder reinforcement; and study of their physical and mechanical properties. Widely used metals, such as copper and aluminum, can be used as a soft matrix material. It is expected that for metal matrix nano-composites wetting ability of a reinforcing agent nano particles shall increase significantly at mixing with a matrix material because of high surface energy of the reinforcement in nano-range. It is also expected that inserting of reinforcing ultra-fine particles into a metal matrix shall significantly improve its mechanical properties (elasticity module, strength, hardness, impact viscosity), increase heat conductivity and give to metal matrix new functional properties: wear-resistance, heat-stability etc. An important characteristic of such material is keeping such easy-treatable metals’ properties as plasticity, electric conductivity and good formability of melts. Moreover, new physical properties may appear.

But producing a nano-composite material with flawless structure is quite difficult task. Thermal activation of UFM at compacting causes diffusion and recrystallization process intensification and partial or complete annihilation of their ultra-fine structure, non-equilibrium phase disappearance, residual voltage relaxation, and correspondingly change of their unique properties. That is why to create products from ultra-fine materials with improved physical and mechanical properties and to extend the opportunities of their application in the current technology and industry it is necessary to develop new technological methods of creating UFM composite materials.

The scope of activity.

It is planned to carry out experimental researches of the process of producing composite materials of soft matrix class (copper, aluminum), armed with high-fast nano-powder reinforcement; and study of their physical and mechanical properties. Isostatic and dynamic pressing methods will be used for compacting metal composites. For study of the nano-composites’ structure it is necessary to perform X-ray - and neutron-structural analysis, methods of optical-tunnel- and atomic-force microscopy, as well as method of photon-correlation spectroscopy will be applied. For study of physical properties the newest methods shall be applied: up-date version of differential scanning calorimetry, spectroscopy and gravimetry. For study of mechanical properties mechanical tension - compression tests will be conducted.

At the final stage of the project activity samples of metal composites with improved physical and mechanical properties will be produced and the opportunity of their using in the current technology and industry will be considered.

Scientific and technical backlog in hand

The project participants are specialists in the field of materials science, particularly, in the branch of producing and compacting ultra fine powder materials

Scientific and technical backlog of the project participants is mainly in a few key statements:

  • The methods of producing ultra fine diamond powders;
  • The experimental techniques of isostatic and dynamic compacting of powder materials were developed;
  • The technique of compacting of powder materials was worked out and the methods of the produced composite diagnostics were mastered.

The expected results

In the process of the project realization the methods of compacting metal composites, armed with high-fast ultra fine particles, will be developed, test samples of new materials will be produced and their physical and mechanical properties will be investigated. The database of the properties of new metal composite materials, armed with high-fast ultra fine particles, will be created.

Meeting ISTC Goals and Objectives

The present project completely meets the ISTC goals and objectives.

It is the up-to-date physical researches, having the prospects of application of their results in the field of the applied research in material science and in industrial production:

  • The project gives Russian scientists and specialists, previously involved in weapon researches, an opportunity to re-direct their efforts onto the civil purposes.
  • The project is devoted to solving scientific and technological problems of the world-wide level, that is why the project encourages the integration of Russian scientists into the international scientific community.
  • The project field of the research is applied research in material science.
  • The developed methods of producing metal composites, armed with high-fast ultra fine particles, can be used in different fields of technology, for example, in electrical engineering, instrument engineering, motor-car construction and machine industry.
  • One of the project purposes is producing wear-resisting products using ultra-fine particles and reducing the production operations cost. It means that the project promotes transition to market economy, meeting civil needs.
  • The approaches, engineering solutions and scientific information, obtained in the process of the project realization can become the object of patenting and sharing with the countries, participating in the project funding.

For realization of the stated task we assume to use scientific and technical backlog of RFNC-VNIIEF and FSUE NIKIMT, their facilities and test benches in hand, plus the developed diagnostic methods.

The project activity will be carried out by highly qualified specialists, previously involved in the nuclear scientific and weapon programs. Their experience in conducting researches will be widely used within the limits of the project.

Role of Foreign Collaborators

Cooperation with the foreign collaborators will allow, first of all, to estimate critically the project activity technical progress, at second, it will expand information view of the project participants, then it will extend contacts of scientists and engineers with international scientific community. All this will allow to continue long-term cooperation in the field of material science even after the finishing of the present project.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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