A vacuum infiltration process was developed to produce aluminium alloy composites containing various volume fractions of ceramic particles. The matrix composites of aluminium with 9.42 wt%Si and 0.36 wt%Mg containing up to 55 vol% SiCp were successfully infiltrated and the effect of infiltration temperature and volume fraction of particle on infiltration behaviour was investigated. In addition to aluminium powder, magnesium was used to improve the wetting of SiC particles by the molten aluminium alloy. The infiltration rate increased with increasing infiltration time, temperature and volume fraction of particle, but full infiltration appeared at the optimum process parameters for the various volumes of fraction composite compacts. In addition, the microstructure, hardness, density, porosity and wear resistance of the composites were also examined. It is observed that the distribution of SiC particles was uniform. The hardness and density of the composite increased with increasing reinforcement volume fraction and porosity decreased with increasing particle content. Moreover, the wear rate of the composite increased with increasing load and decreased with increasing particle content. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.