A new experimental configuration for the casting of metal matrix composites (MMCs) using Al-4.5 wt pct Cu has been used to obtain finer microstructures around the fiber reinforcement. The new configuration allows fibers to be extended out of the mold and cooled by a heat sink. By doing so, solidification can be sped up and more primary alpha-aluminum phase can be formed on the surface of the fibers. It is believed that this can lead to improved material properties of the composite. A simulation study of the solidification process has been carried out to examine the effects of different processing parameters on the cooling rate during the casting of MMC. Among these parameters include the pouring temperature of the liquid melt, sink temperature, fiber length extended out of the mold, fiber conductivity, mold initial temperature, mold conductivity, applied pressure, mold wall thickness, and fiber bundle diameter. Selected simulation results are compared with the available experimental data obtained from the UWM Center for Composites.

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