Composite Material Characterization


Aluminium-based particulate-reinforced metal matrix composites (PMMCs) frequently have a heterogeneous distribution of reinforcement particles whether produced by a powder or liquid processing route. The applicability of X-ray microtomography (XMT) for the characterization of this heterogeneity and its influence on final properties was investigated for the case of a powder blended and extruded AA2124 matrix with Ni particulate. Simpleware software was used to quantify the embedded Ni particle size distribution and the extent and texture of the clusters formed.


  • Based on X-ray micro tomography (XMT)
  • Multi-part FEA model generation
  • Scan to mesh in 10 minutes

Thanks to

I. Watson and P. Lee (Imperial College London)

Image Processing

XMT provides a rapid means of generating 3D representations of actual material microstructures in two-phase systems. Segmentation algorithms in ScanIP have been used to segment four components (i.e. Al, TiB2, Fe, Air) based on signal strength.

Mesh Generation

In less than 5 minutes an accurate FE mesh was generated using the +FE module to determine the reinforcement particle/cluster size distribution and extrusion texture in an MMC material.


Simulation of the elastoplastic response of the material showed excellent correlation with experimental results. Using the directly meshed microstructure, the elasto-plastic behaviour of the complex microstructure was simulated, and excellent agreement was achieved with experimental measurements.