IOE pave the way for SiCp/AL composite applications

Engineers from IOE’s refining center improved the precision machining process of SiCp/AL composite material, paved the way for its use on key bearing structure. 

SiCp/AL composite is famous for its characteristics of wear resistance, high thermal conductivity and dimensional stability. In some area, such as optical instrument fabrication, this composite material will become the best alternative material for aluminum alloy, part of titanium alloy, niobium alloy. However, there are still some problems in this composite material. It can be considered as a homogeneous, isotropic multiphase material at macro level, but heterogeneous and anisotropic at a micro level. Beyond that, SiC particles are disorderly distributed in a soft aluminum matrix, leading to uneven stress distribution inside the material during cutting, which will affect the surface topography and roughness. 

Engineers from IOE’s refining center have tried to solve the problems in this composite material and made significant progress. They find out various factors (such as tool material, tool geometry, cutting speed, feed rate, cutting fluid, etc.) that affect the surface integrity and accuracy of the components, study the relationship between these factors. Then, they formulate a practical and feasible processing plan to improve the SiCp/AL composite, and use the improved SiCp/AL composite to manufacture a high precision spindle. With the dimension precision and geometrical accuracy of 0.002mm, the spindle is used for IOE’S aerospace project. Also, engineers indicate that the improved SiCp/AL composite has a very broad application prospect in optical instrument, electronics industry and other field. 


Figure1. The spindle made by IOE. 

(SI Bu)


CAO Qiang

Institute of Optics and Electronics


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