Project presentations on the website

Every project supported by Gebert Rüf Stiftung is made accessible with a web presentation that informs about the core data of the project. With this public presentation, the foundation publishes the funding results achieved and contributes to the communication of science to society.


Nanoparticulate dispersion strengthened composites


Für den Inhalt der Angaben zeichnet die Projektleitung verantwortlich.


Dieses von der Gebert Rüf Stiftung geförderte Projekt wird von folgenden weiteren Projektpartnern mitgetragen: HES-SO Valais.

Project data

  • Project no: GRS-019/07 
  • Amount of funding: CHF 335'000 
  • Approved: 29.10.2007 
  • Duration: 05.2008 - 01.2011 
  • Area of activity:  Innovation an Fachhochschulen, 1998 - 2008

Project management

Project description

The aim of this project is the development of nanoparticulate-reinforced metals for fabrication of structural parts. Because of its unique properties, carbide-based nanopowders can enhance the mechanical performance of metal alloys. To achieve this goal, a uniform dispersion of nanopowders in the metal matrix is necessary, but agglomeration is a current issue. Nanoparticles with sizes in the range 20-30 nm will be processed by a plasma process. The feasibility of obtaining a uniform dispersion of nanoparticles in a metal matrix by high energy ball milling will be assessed. This technique produces metal-ceramic composite powders, which will be shaped by compaction and sintering. Alternative net-shaping techniques as Metal Injection Moulding and Rapid Prototyping will be investigated to obtain parts of complex geometry from the composite powders. The composite microstructure and the mechanical properties will be characterized and optimized.

What is special about the project?

The increasing demand of high strength and temperature resistant components is a driving force behind the search for advanced materials, which usually have to work on aggressive environments. The Gebert Rüf Stiftung supports this project because of the need of establishing appropriate processing conditions for nanoparticulate dispersion strengthened materials, in the perspective of potential applications in micromechanics, luxury goods, and sensors industries among others.


Successful production of carbide nanoparticles has been performed by using inductively coupled plasma synthesis. These nanoparticles have been incorporated as a reinforcement in aluminium-based powders by milling in high energy mills. Simple shape parts have been produced with the milled composite powders by hot compaction in uniaxial presses. A significant improvement in hardness has been obtained. In addition, complex geometry parts have been manufactured by injection moulding of both alloy and composite powders with appropriate binders. Dense, ductile parts with improved hardness have been obtained by the use of appropriate sintering aids. Experimental watch bracelet segments have been produced with both unreinforced alloy and nanocomposites. The aspect of net-shape parts has been improved by appropriate surface finishing.

This project has been a necessary exploratory step, and the feasibility of the main involved topics has been assessed. A solid know how has been acquired. The participant laboratories are now ready to launch new projects with the industry for the development of nanocomposite products processed by both classical and advanced powder metallurgy techniques.


«Nano-silicon carbide reinforced aluminium composites prepared by high-energy milling and hot consolidation», Kollo L., Bradbury C.R., Veinthal R., Jaeggi C., Carreño-Morelli E., Leparoux M., Materials Science and Engineering A528, 2011, pp. 6606-6615;
«Strengthening of aluminium with dispersed nanoparticulate materials by high energy milling», Leparoux M., Bradbury C. R., Kwon H., Rodríguez-Arbaizar M., Carreño-Morelli E., Kollo L., Gomon J. K. Proc. of Matériaux 2010, Nantes, France, October 18-22, 2010, pp. 1-5;
«Net-shape Al6061/SiC nanocomposites by powder injection moulding», Rodríguez-Arbaizar M., Hamdan H., Leparoux M., Kollo L., Kwon H., Carreño Morelli E. Proc. of PM2010 Powder Metallurgy World Congress PM2010, Florence, Italy, October 10-14, 2010, vol.4, pp. 429-434;
«Hardness of hot consolidated Al-SiC nanocomposites from planetary milled powders», Kollo L., Leparoux M., Bradbury C. R., Kommel L., Carreño-Morelli E., Rodríguez-Arbaizar M., Proc. of PM2010 Powder Metallurgy World Congress PM2010, Florence, Italy, October 10-14, 2010, vol.1, pp. 341-346;
«Investigation of planetary milling for nano-silicon carbide reinforced aluminium metal matrix composites», Kollo L., Leparoux M., Bradbury C., Jäggi C., Carreño-Morelli E., Rodriguez-Arbaizar M., Journal of Alloys and Compounds 489, 2010, pp.394-400.


RSR web page with short description:
MP3 file can be downloaded at:


Persons involved in the project

Prof. Dr. Efrain Carreno-Morelli, Projektleiter, efrain.notexisting@nodomain.comcmorelli@hevs.notexisting@nodomain.comch
Dr. Marc Leparoux, EMPA, marc.notexisting@nodomain.comleparoux@empa.notexisting@nodomain.comch
Dr. Hansang Kwon, EMPA, Feuerwerkerstrasse 39, 3602 Thun, Tel. 033 228 29 56, Fax 033 228 44 90, hansang.notexisting@nodomain.comkwon@empa.notexisting@nodomain.comch
Dipl.-Ing. Mikel Rodriguez-Arbaizar, HES-SO Valais, Route du Rawyl 47, 1950 Sion, Tel. 027 606 88 37, mikel.notexisting@nodomain.comrodriguez@hevs.notexisting@nodomain.comch

Last update to this project presentation  24.07.2018