Self-propagating, high temperature synthesis (SHS) can be used to bond both similar and dissimilar metals. A unique feature of this technique is the ability to stack either metal foils or metal foils and powder, and to process them to form two-dimensional, layered composites with a “graded” intermetallic interface between layers. This process can also be used to modify a surface for corrosion or wear resistance. To date Bureau of Mines research has focused on making iron-, titanium-, and nickel-aluminum composites. The elemental metal foils are stacked and placed in a hot press, and the temperature is raised until the composite sandwich undergoes the SHS reaction. At approximately 660°C (i.e., the melting point of aluminum), the aluminum reacts with the transition metal to form intermetallic phases. The SHS process is mass and energy limited; i.e., mass transport controls the chemical reaction rates, while the energy liberated by the chemical reaction is distributed to the surroundings by heat conduction, convection and radiation.