Yang, N., Boselli, J. and Sinclair, I.
Simulation and quantitative assessment of homogeneous and inhomogeneous particle distributions in particulate metal matrix composites
Journal of Microscopy, 201, (2), . (doi:10.1046/j.1365-2818.2001.00766.x).
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Reinforcement distributions play an important role in various aspects of the processing and final mechanical behaviour of particulate metal matrix composites (PMMCs). Methods for quantifying spatial distribution in such materials are, however, poorly developed, particularly in relation to the range of particle size, shape and orientation that may be present in any one system. The present work investigates via computer simulations the influences of particle morphology, homogeneity and inhomogeneity on spatial distribution measurements obtained by finite-body tessellation. Distribution inhomogeneity was simulated both by the segregation of particles away from specified regions within a microstructure and by generating point density peaks at random locations within a microstructure. Both isotropic and anisotropic inhomogeneous distributions were considered to simulate distribution patterns in PMMCs before and after mechanical working. It was found that the coefficient of variation of the mean near-neighbour distance (COV(dmean)), derived from particle interfaces using finite-body tessellation, was essentially independent of particle shape, size distribution, orientation and area fraction in homogeneous (random) distributions, but showed great sensitivity to inhomogeneity. Increased values of COV(dmean) were seen for both forms of inhomogeneous distributions considered here, with little influence of particle morphology. The COV(dmean) was also seen to be sensitive to anisotropic clustering, the presence of which was identified via nearest-neighbour angles and cell orientations. Although generally formulated for PMMCs, the present results may be generalized to other systems containing low aspect ratio finite bodies of low to moderate area fraction.
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