Modeling and Synthesis of a Piezoelectric Ceramic-Reinforced Metal Matrix Composite
A mathematical model has been created based on J.D. Eshelby's equivalent inclusion method that can predict the elastic modulus and damping capability in the form of Joule heat for any piezoelectric ceramic-reinforced metal matrix composite system. Specifically, barium titanate (BaTiO₃), lead titanate (PbTiO₃), and zinc oxide (ZnO) piezoelectric ceramics have been modeled as dispersed particles shaped as spheres, prolate spheroids, and discs within a host of common structural metallic matrices including 304 stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum, brass, copper, lead, magnesium, nickel, Ni-20wt%Cr, tin, titanium, Ti-6Al-4V(at%), and tungsten. Composite systems that were predicted to exhibit the greatest level of damping capacity include copper, aluminum, and magnesium matrices reinforced with PbTiO₃, BaTiO₃, and ZnO, in descending order of damping magnitude. In general, higher-conducting, lower-stiffness metallic matrices coupled with more-piezoelectric, higher-stiffness ceramic reinforcement resulted in the greatest level of predicted damping capability and enhanced composite elastic modulus. Additionally, a Ni-20wt%Cr-30v%BaTiO₃ composite has been created using mechanical alloying processing. Specifically, pure constituent powders were combined stoichiometrically in a SPEX milling vial utilizing a charge ratio of 4:1 and subsequently milled for 24 hours. Separate composite powder samples were then annealed in a hydrogen tube furnace at 400°C, 500°C, and 600°C for one and five hours at each temperature. X-ray diffraction was performed on the as-milled and the annealed powders revealing that each was composed of the starting constituents in the appropriate proportions. Representative powders were mounted and polished using common metallographic procedures and microstructures were examined by optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. All of the powders exhibited a good dispersion of BaTiO₃ particles ranging in diameter from 1μm to about 25nm with no noticeable difference between the as-milled and the annealed powders.