Prior research has shown that ULTALITE® has the significant benefits compared to Aluminium/Ceramic mixtures, namely wear resistance, compatibility in friction couples, stiffness and hardness at a significantly lower cost.
ULTALITE® can be made from secondary metal, is readily recyclable and is easily machined with conventional machine tools. These benefits that offer a solution to weight reduction of brake components to successfully substitute cast iron brake drums and disc brake rotors with Aluminum at a cost which is acceptable for high volume production motor cars and commercial vehicles.
ULTALITE® is lower cost than other Al-MMCs because:
- The reinforcement material (fly ash particles) is a by-product of electricity generation and costs significantly less than silicon carbide particles. ULTALITE® costs less than Aluminium Alloy which it displaced.
- Die life will be greatly extended because, using semi solid processing, the temperature will be lower than other production techniques.
- The spherical reinforcement will aid the flow of metal through the die gate and it will not wear the steel surfaces.
- Less energy input is required because the whole process requires lower temperatures.
- The manufacturing process can be arranged in a continuous production line from mixing to machining.
- Lower cost secondary metal can be utilised for ULTALITE® castings.
- The casting runners, biscuits and other scrap can be recycled directly into the secondary metal melt, reducing the requirement for new metal whilst conserving heating energy as the scrap is already at an elevated temperature.
- Conventional tungsten carbide tools can be used for machining ULTALITE® , rather than the diamond tooling required for silicon carbide reinforced metal.
The ULTALITE® Al-MMC is fully recyclable (on-site), which has been verified by Teksid of Italy and Aisin Takaoka (Div. of Toyota). Both companies recycled the ULTALITE® material at least 6 times and the material did not lose any of its mechanical properties or deterioration in castability – in fact, some minor improvement in mechanical properties was recorded.
The ULTALITE® ceramic particles come in various sizes from sub micron size to over 60 microns per particle. These particles can be supplied in hollow or solid format.