Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Iver E. Anderson

Second Advisor

Bulent Biner


Solid state vacuum sintering was studied in tap densified Al powder and in hot quasi-isostatically forged samples composed of commercial inert gas atomized or high purity Al powder, generated by a gas atomization reaction synthesis (GARS) technique. The GARS process results in spherical Al powder with a far thinner surface oxide. The overall results indicated the enhanced ability of GARS-processed Al and Al alloy powders for solid state sintering, which may lead to simplification of current Al powder consolidation processing methods.;Elemental Al-based composites reinforced with spherical Al-Cu-Fe alloy powders were produced by quasi-isostatic forging and vacuum hot pressing (VHP) consolidation methods. It was proved that spherical Al-Cu-Fe alloy powders can serve as an effective reinforcement particulate for elemental Al-based composites, because of their high hardness and a preferred type of matrix/reinforcement interfacial bonding, with reduced strain concentration around the particles. Ultimate tensile strength and yield strength of the composites were increased over the corresponding Al matrix values, far beyond typical observations. This remarkable strengthening was achieved without precipitation hardening and without severe strain hardening during consolidation because of the matrix choice (elemental Al) and the "low shear" consolidation methods utilized. This reinforcement effectiveness is further evidenced by elastic modulus measurements of the composites that are very close to the upper bound predictions of the rule of mixtures. The load partitioning measurements by neutron diffraction showed that composite samples made from GARS powders present significantly higher load transfer efficiency than the composites made from commercially atomized powders. Further analysis of the load sharing measurements and the calculated values of the mismatch of coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) and the geometrically necessary dislocation (GND) effects suggest that these strengthening mechanisms can be combined to predict accurately the strength of the composites.;By neutron diffraction measurements, it also was found that the composites consolidated from Al and Al63Cu25Fe12 quasicrystal alloy reinforcement powders have compressive residual stress in the Al matrix, contrary to the tensile residual stress in typical Al/SiC composites. The composites made by the quasi-isostatic forging process exhibited higher tensile strengths and much higher compressive residual stresses than the composites made by the VHP process.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Fei Tang



Proquest ID


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File Size

194 pages

Included in

Metallurgy Commons