Lightweight high-strength metal matrix nano-composites (MMNCs) can be used in a wide variety of applications, e.g., aerospace, automotive, and biomedical engineering, owing to their sustainability, increased specific strength/stiffness, enhanced elevated temperature strength, improved wear, or corrosion resistance. A metallic matrix, commonly comprising of light aluminum or magnesium alloys, can be significantly strengthened even by very low weight fractions (~1 wt%) of well-dispersed nanoparticles. This review discusses the recent advancements in the fabrication of metal matrix nanocomposites starting with manufacturing routes and different nanoparticles, intricacies of the underlying physics, and the mechanisms of particle dispersion in a particle-metal composite system. Thereafter, the microstructural influences of the nanoparticles on the composite system are outlined and the theory of the strengthening mechanisms is also explained. Finally, microstructural, mechanical, and tribological properties of the selected MMNCs are discussed as well.
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