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Abstract

Definition of a composite [1] describes an ideal composite material with perfect structure. In real composite materials, structure is usually imperfect – composites contain various types of defects [2, 3–5], especially as the casted composites are of concern. The reason for this is a specific structure of castings, related to course of the manufacturing process. In case of metal matrix composite castings, especially regarding these manufactured by saturation, there is no classification of these defects [2, 4]. Classification of defects in castings of classic materials (cast iron, cast steel, non-ferrous alloys) is insufficient and requires completion of specific defects of mentioned materials. This problem (noted during manufacturing metal matrix composite castings with saturated reinforcement in Institute of Basic Technical Sciences of Maritime University Szczecin) has become a reason of starting work aimed at creating such classification. As a result, this paper was prepared. It can contribute to improvement of quality of studied materials and, as a consequence, improve the environment protection level.
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Abstract

The paper presents a detailed description of one of the newest methods of vacuum saturation of reinforcing preforms in gypsum molds. As an appropriate selection of the infiltration time is a crucial problem during realization of this process, aim of the analysis shown in the paper is to present methods of selection of subatmospheric pressure application time, a sequence of lowering and increasing pressure, as well as examining influence of structure of reinforcing preforms on efficiency of this process. To realize the aim, studies on infiltration of reinforcing preforms made of a corundum sinter of various granulation of sintered particles with a model alloy were conducted. The infiltration process analysis was carried out in two stages. The first stage consisted in investigation of influence of lengthening of sucking off air from the reinforcing preforms on efficiency of this process. In the second stage, an analysis of influence of a two-staged infiltration process on saturation of the studied materials was conducted. Because the studied preforms were of similar porosity, the obtained differences of the saturation level of particular preforms have shown, that the saturation process is influenced mostly by size of pores present in the reinforcement. Because of these differences, each reinforcement type requires individual selection of time and sequence of the saturation process. For reinforcements of higher pore diameter, it is sufficient to simply increase air sucking off time to improve the saturation, while for reinforcement of smaller pore diameter, it is a better solution to apply the two-staged process of sucking off air. Application of the proposed analysis method allows not only obtaining composite castings of higher quality, but also economical optimization of the whole process.
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