M Wright & Sons (MWS) and Composite Metal Technology are pleased to announce their success in Innovate UKs Manufacturing and Materials funding call round 1.
The project entitled “Next generation low cost aluminium composite inserts for the emerging global market” will accelerate the uptake of aluminium/ceramic fibre metal matrix composites (MMCs) through a significant reduction in piece cost. In order to achieve this reduction in cost, CMT, manufacturer of aluminium matrix composite inserts based in Basingstoke, Hampshire will reduce development time for new component applications and optimise their metal matrix infiltration process. MWS, technical narrow fabric weaver based in Quorn Leicestershire having developed 3D weaving capability with applications in composite materials, will significantly reduce material cost by optimising the weave patterns of the ceramic fibre reinforcement preforms.
In addition, the effect of both the optimised weave patterns and metal infiltration process on the mechanical performance of the metal matrix composites will be modelled via finite element analysis. This will allow engineers to design new components and applications with confidence.
The project will assist MWS in developing significant expertise in processing and weaving of extremely fragile ceramic fibre preforms with both 2D and 3D fibre architectures.
Whereas the project partners anticipate significant take up of the developed technology in the automotive industry due to reduced part cost, the aerospace industry will also benefit from metal matrix composites with high mechanical performance.
In addition the capability developed by MWS during the course of the project could have direct application in the manufacture of ceramic fibre preforms for high temperature ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) particularly in the aerospace industry.
Simon Marshall, MWS project leader commented “This project gives M Wright & Sons Ltd the opportunity of working with CMT, one of the most innovative advanced materials companies working in the composites industry today. In addition, the project allows us to develop our expertise in processing and weaving one of the most technically demanding ceramic fibres available with the potential to build significant business in both metal matrix and ceramic matrix composites.”