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AlBeMet is the trade name for a beryllium and aluminium metal matrix composite material derived by a powder metallurgy process. AlBeMet AM162 is manufactured by Materion Corporation Brush Beryllium and Composites (formerly known as Brush Wellman).
AlBeMet is formed by hot consolidating gas atomized prealloyed powder. Each powder particle contains aluminium between beryllium dendrites producing a uniform microstructure. Aluminium-beryllium metal matrix composite combines the high modulus and low density characteristics of beryllium with the fabrication and mechanical property behaviors of aluminium.
Due to weight advantage, Be-Al alloys are used in aerospace and satellite applications.
The mechanical properties of AM162 have been characterized in all three-product forms with the extruded product form of AlBeMet having a significant design database. The extruded bar is fabricated by cold isostatic pressing (CIPing) the isotropic spherical aluminium-beryllium powder into semi-dense billets and then canning the billet for subsequent extrusion with a minimum of a 4:1 reduction ratio.
Mechanical properties are minimum values at room temperature. Wrought mechanical properties for extrusions are in the longitudinal direction. Transverse properties are generally lower.
A number of standard extrusion dies are available. Rolled product is available in a thickness range of 0.063” to 0.313” x 25” (0.16 to 0.795 cm x 63.5 cm) length times width dependent on gauge. Mechanical properties for HIP’d, extruded, and/or rolled AlBe metal matrix composites are in the annealed condition.
- High modulus-to-density ratio, 3.8 times that of aluminium or steel, minimizes flexure and reduces the chance of mechanically induced failure.
- Thermal conductivity of approximately 210 W/m•K exceeds by about 25% that of common aluminium metal matrix composites such as Al 6061.
- Polished AlBeMet® exhibits significant surface scatter inherent in the composite structure and cannot be eliminated by optical polishing. (Typical surface roughness from an AlBeMet polished surface is in the 200-250 angstroms finish.) An amorphous coating such as electroless nickel is required. Surfaces in the 15 to 20 angstrom level are achievable, depending on the CTE of the substrate material, a potential penalty of bi-metallic effect between substrate and nickel surface finish is possible.
With the tailoring of electroless nickel, this material dictates that the phosphorus content in the plating bath be approximately 11% to insure a CTE match close to that of the AlBeMet® thereby eliminating any bi-metallic effect.
The fatigue properties of AlBeMet extruded material have been tested using the Krause rotating beam fatigue test utilizing fully reversed cycles with a R= +0.1. The fatigue limit, 1 x 10-7 cycles was about 207 MPa (30 ksi) in the longitudinal direction and 165 MPa (25 ksi) in the transverse direction. This property is approximately 75% of the minimum RT yield strength, which is two times that of typical fatigue properties of 6061T6 aluminium.
Most important fact in Surface Mount Technology (SMT) circuit board cores is coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE).The better the CTE match, the less strain imposed on solder joints. Less strain translates into better fatigue life for solder joints and longer life for the board. Thermal management capabilities, characterized by the thermal conductivity and heat capacity, have also been found to be important factors.
Manufacture of AlBeMet components
AlBeMet parts can be manufactured with the same techniques normally used for aluminium, meaning that special tools do not need to be developed. Although the material is safe to handle when not being worked on, the carcinogenic properties mean that special precautions must be taken to avoid exposure.
- "AlBeMet® Technical Data Sheets" (PDF). Materion Brush Beryllium & Composites. Retrieved 2011-09-07.