The paper presents results of bend tests at elevated temperatures of aluminium alloy EN AC-44200 (AlSi12) based composite materials reinforced with aluminium oxide particles. The examined materials were manufactured by squeeze casting. Preforms made of Al2O3 particles, with volumetric fraction 10, 20, 30 and 40 vol.% of particles joined with sodium silicate bridges were used as reinforcement. The preforms were characterised by open porosity ensuring proper infiltration with the EN AC-44200 (AlSi12) liquid alloy. The largest bending strength was found for the materials containing 40 vol.% of reinforcing ceramic particles, tested at ambient temperature. At increased test temperature, bending strength Rg of composites decreased in average by 30 to 50 MPa per 100°C of temperature increase. Temperature increase did not significantly affect cracking of the materials. Cracks propagated mainly along the interfaces particle/matrix, with no effect of the particles falling-out from fracture surfaces. Direction of cracking can be affected by a small number of agglomerations of particles or of non-reacted binder. In the composites, the particles strongly restrict plastic deformation of the alloy, which leads to creation of brittle fractures. At elevated temperatures, however mainly at 200 and 300°C, larger numbers of broken, fragmented particles was observed in the vicinity of cracks. Fragmentation of particles occurred mainly at tensioned side of the bended specimens, in the materials with smaller fraction of Al2O3 reinforcement, i.e. 10 and 20 vol.%.
Ceramic injection moulding and gas pressure infiltration were employed for the manufacturing of alumina/AlSi10Mg composites. Porous ceramic preforms were prepared by mixing alumina powder with a multi-binder system and injection moulding of the powder polymer slurry. Then, the organic part was removed through a combination of solvent and thermal debinding, and the materials were finally sintered at different temperatures. The ceramic preforms manufactured in this way were infiltrated by an AlSi10Mg alloy. The microstructure and properties of the manufactured materials were examined using scanning electron microscopy, mercury porosimetry and bending strength testing. The results of transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy observations show that the fabricated composite materials are characterised by the percolation type of the microstructure and a lack of unfilled pores with good cohesion at the metal-ceramic interfaces. This is surprising considering that over 30% of the pores are smaller than 1 μm. The results show that the bending strength of the obtained composites decreased with increasing sintering temperature of the porous preforms.