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Electromagnetic Containerless Processing of Single-walled Nanotube Reinforced Metal-Matrix Composites

K. Wilson, Q. Zeng, E. Barrera and Y. Bayazitoglu
Rice University, US

Keywords:
SNWTs, electromagnetic levitation

Abstract:
Single walled carbon nanotube (SWNTs) reinforced copper (Cu) matrix composites were produced by powder metallurgy (PM) and electromagnetic levitation methods. The nanotubes where first decorated with a Nickel coating using incipient wetting and then dispersed by ball milling. The optimization of factors such as cold pressing pressure, powder grain size and sintering temperature for full densification were essential in the preform stage of PM in order to produce a sample suitable for levitation. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observations have shown that the well dispersed nanotubes in the composites are not damaged during the high temperature composite preparation. The preforms where then melted by electromagnetic levitation in an argon environment. SEM observations showed that the nanotubes were not damaged during the high temperature melting. Hardness testing demonstrated that the strength of the composites is increased with increasing volume fraction of SWNTs.

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