Processing of metal-ceramic composites for tribological systems

Project Manager: Dr.-Ing. Rolf Janßen
Project Worker: Dipl.-Ing. Katharina Wiegandt
Supported by: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie (ZIM)
Collaboration: Fachhochschule Koblenz, Inmatec Technologies GmbH, Cerobear GmbH
Start: 01.04.2009
End: 31.03.2012


Project title:

MeCeram - Processing of novel metal-ceramic composites with defined functional properties and prototypes for ceramic roller bearings


A novel powder metallurgical process for the fabrication of metal reinforced ceramics was developed at the Institute of Advanced Ceramics. The so called s-MAC process (sintered metal-alumina composites) has recently been shown to be an alternative route for low-cost fabrication of highly dense cermets. Aim of the current project is the investigation of the s-MAC process for commercial production of high-performance ceramic materials with adjustable properties (e.g. electrical conductivity, wear resistance or surface stresses).



For fabrication of these cermets precursor powders composed of aluminium oxide, aluminium and metal powders (e.g. Cr, Mo, Fe) are wet milled, dried and subsequently uniaxial and/or cold isostatic pressed. Green bodies are reactively sintered under an inert gas atmosphere as shown in Fig. 1. The addition of aluminium allows pressureless densification as it promotes sintering by reducing the native oxide layer of metals. Because only small amounts of aluminium are present, redox reaction takes place on a very small scale and thereby thermal runaway does not occur. These cermets offer improved mechanical (e.g. fracture toughness, bending strength) and tribological properties (e.g. wear resistance, friction coefficient) when compared to single phase ceramics.


Fig. 1


For industrial production the s-MAC process will be combined with plastic shaping by extrusion or injection molding. In the present project, the focus is on bearings exhibiting increased wear resistance and special sensory functions (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2



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