The thermal expansion response of ceramic composites containing a metallic phase for thermal management applications is studied. The two types of composites considered include a SiC particulate/Al composite (with a large extent of particle contact due to high SiC content) and a SiC/Al interpenetrating composite. Numerical modeling using the finite element method is carried out to provide insights into the experimentally measured deformation behavior. It is found that processing induced residual porosity at the particle contact areas and the sharp concave comers of SiC can govern to a significant degree the thermal expansion response of the composites. The micromechanisms responsible for such effects are identified.

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