Research projects on innovative structural materials carried out at the University “La Sapienza” of Rome in the last years are described. Problems, objectives and future developments are reported on new Al-Li-Mg-Ce alloys, SiC reinforced titanium and aluminum composites, ceramic composites for fuel engines, structural polymer composites, modelling and simulation procedures with new experimental testing methods for composite components.
Particularly, Al-Li (2–2.8%)−Mg(2%)−Ce(0.5–0.8%) alloys were studied for their very low density (less than 2.5 kg/d3), and good mechanical properties, especially fatigue resistance, and reasonable production cost.
Plasma spray technique was used to produce SiC-fiber reinforced titanium alloys (Ti-6AI-4V), or pure aluminium, matrices. Squeeze-casting method was also used for SiC-particles reinforced aluminium alloys composites.
As new synthetic ceramics, SiC-additivated Al2O3−MgO (ZrO2, Y2O3) were prepared for fuel engines applications. For testing of this material a new high pressure fretting wear rig was developed.
Curing agents for epoxy resin matrices were examined from the point of view of mechanical properties and durability of glass, or carbon, reinforced polymer composites. In testing of materials, especially structural composite components, new methods based on acoustic emission, image analysis, thermography (for polymer composites), ultasonic waves etc. were joined to classical tensile or impact tests to evaluate the damage intensity in real time. Al-electrocoated stainless steels and Superalloys were studied for high temperature oxidation and thermal cycling resistance.
Beta-metastable titanium alloys were also examined.