Aluminum (Al) matrix composite materials reinforced with carbon nanotubes (CNT) and silicon carbide nanoparticles (nano-SiC) were fabricated by mechanical ball milling, followed by hot-pressing. Nano-SiC was used as an active mixing agent for dispersing the CNTs in the Al powder. The hardness of the produced composites was dramatically increased, up to eight times higher than bulk pure Al, by increasing the amount of nano-SiC particles. A small quantity of aluminum carbide (Al 4C 3) was observed by TEM analysis and quantified using x-ray diffraction. The composite with the highest hardness values contained some nanosized Al 4C 3. Along with the CNT and the nano-SiC, Al 4C 3 also seemed to play a role in the enhanced hardness of the composites. The high energy milling process seems to lead to a homogeneous dispersion of the high aspect ratio CNTs, and of the nearly spherical nano-SiC particles in the Al matrix. This powder metallurgical approach could also be applied to other nanoreinforced composites, such as ceramics or complex matrix materials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering