Development of metal matrix composites (MMCs) with metallic glass/amorphous alloy reinforcements is an emerging research field. As reinforcements, metallic glasses with their high strength (up to ~2 GPa) and high elastic strain limit (~2%) can provide superior mechanical properties. Being metallic in nature, the glassy alloys can ensure better interfacial properties when compared to conventional ceramic reinforcements. Given the metastable nature of metallic glasses, lightweight materials such as aluminum (Al) and magnesium (Mg) with relatively lower melting points are suitable matrix materials. Synthesis of these advanced composites is a challenge as selection of processing method and appropriate reinforcement type (which does not allow devitrification of the metallic glass during processing) is important. Non-conventional techniques such as high frequency induction sintering, bidirectional microwave sintering, friction stir processing, accumulative roll-bonding, and spark plasma sintering are being explored to produce these novel materials. In this paper, an overview on the synthesis and properties of aluminum and magnesium based composites with glassy reinforcement produced by various unconventional methods is presented. Evaluation of properties of the produced composites indicate: (i) retention of amorphous state of the reinforcement after processing; (ii) significant improvement in hardness and strength; (iii) improvement/retention of ductility; and (iv) high wear resistance and low coefficient of friction. Further, a comparative understanding of the properties highlights that the selection of the processing method is important in producing high performance composites.
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