Iron-base and aluminum-base composite materials reinforced with various ceramic particulates have been fabricated via powder metallurgy and liquid phase sintering. The advantage of this manufacturing route is that conventional powder metallurgy processing equipment can be used to fabricate metal matrix/ceramic composites. Furthermore, this approach makes it possible to manufacture these composites to near-net-shape. A number of matrix/ceramic combinations have been examined: Fe-C-Si and Fe-Cu with ZrO2 additions and a Al-Cu-Si-Mg alloy with SiC or Al2O3 additions. The interfacial structures were characterized and found to play a significant role in controlling the properties of the composites. Reinforcement was observed in several systems. However, a glassy interfacial layer forms when Si additions and oxide reinforcements are present; the resultant particle/matrix bond strength is weak and reinforcement. © 1990, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.