Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Matthew N. Cavalli


Titanium- and Aluminum-based metal matrix composites (MMC) have shown favorable properties for aerospace applications such as airframes, reinforcement materials and joining elements. In this research, such coatings were developed by direct metal laser deposition with a powder-fed fiber coupled diode laser. The MMC formulations consisted of pure titanium and aluminum matrices with reinforcing powder blends of chromium carbide and tungsten carbide nickel alloy. Two powder formulations were investigated for each matrix material (Ti1, Ti2, Al1 and Al2). Titanium based composites were deposited onto a Ti6Al4V plate while aluminum composites were deposited onto AA 7075 and AA 5083 for Al1 and Al2, respectively. Microstructures of the MMCs were studied by optical and scanning electron microscopy. The hardness and reduced Young's modulus (Er) were assessed through depth-sensing instrumented nanoindentation. microhardness (Vickers) was also analyzed for each composite. The corrosion resistance of the MMCs were compared by monitoring open circuit potential (OCP), polarization resistance (Rp) and potentiodynamic polarization in 0.5 M NaCl to simulate exposure to seawater. The Ti-MMCs demonstrated improvements in hardness between 205% and 350% over Ti6Al4V. Al-MMCs showed improvements between 47% and 79% over AA 7075 and AA 5083. The MMCs showed an increase in anodic current density indicating the formation of a less protective surface oxide than the base metals.