Technical Brief

A Novel Technique for Production of Metal Matrix Composites Reinforced With Carbon Nanotubes

[+] Author and Article Information
Cesar Isaza

Escuela de Materiales y Minerales,
Universidad Nacional de Colombia,
Cl 75 79 a-51,
Medellín M 17, Colombia
e-mail: caisaza@unal.edu.co

G. Sierra

Escuela de Materiales y Minerales,
Universidad Nacional de Colombia,
Cl 75 79 a-51,
Medellín M 17, Colombia
e-mail: geasierraga@unal.edu.co

J. M. Meza

Escuela de Materiales y Minerales,
Universidad Nacional de Colombia,
Cl 75 79 a-51,
Medellín M 17, Colombia
e-mail: jmmezam@unal.edu.co

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MANUFACTURING SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING. Manuscript received November 28, 2014; final manuscript received April 8, 2015; published online September 9, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Donggang Yao.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 138(2), 024501 (Sep 09, 2015) (5 pages) Paper No: MANU-14-1641; doi: 10.1115/1.4030377 History: Received November 28, 2014

The metal matrix composites (MMCs) have been widely used where high specific properties and temperature resistance are required, particularly in aerospace applications. In this work, an ASTM-1100 aluminum alloy in the form of sheets was reinforced with multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) by a novel technique which we have called sandwich technique. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are dispersed in a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) solution; this solution is poured into a container and dried to obtain a reinforced polymer, which is then stretched to obtain a sheet with CNTs aligned in the stretching direction. These composite sheets were stacked with aluminum sheets, and then these stacks were hot compacted in a die using an argon atmosphere to prevent the damage of the CNTs. During this process, most of the polymer evaporates and aluminum diffusion allows obtaining a consolidated matrix with a banded structure of CNTs. The mechanical properties of the composite were measured by tensile and nano-indentation tests, showing increases of up to 100% in the elastic modulus and significant increases in yield and ultimate strength with respect to unreinforced material. Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) analyses showed a good dispersion of the CNTs within the bands with no evidence of CNTs' damage. No harmful phases were found in the composite after micro X-ray diffraction (XRD) tests. The results showed that the proposed technique is promissory to solve some of the problems in the nano-MMCs manufacturing such as dispersion and alignment of the reinforcing phase.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Iijima, S. , 1991, “Helical Microtubules of Graphitic Carbon,” Nature, 354(6348), pp. 56–58. [CrossRef]
Esawi, A. , Morsi, K. , Sayed, A. , Taher, M. , and Lanka, S. , 2010, “Effect of Carbon Nanotube (CNT) Content on the Mechanical Properties of CNT-Reinforced Aluminium Composites,” Compos. Sci. Technol., 70(16), pp. 2237–2241. [CrossRef]
Morsi, K. , and Esawi, A. , 2007, “Effect of Mechanical Alloying Time and Carbon Nanotube (CNT) Content on the Evolution of Aluminum (Al)–CNT Composite Powders,” J. Mater. Sci., 42(13), pp. 4954–4959. [CrossRef]
Morsi, K. , Esawi, A. , Borah, P. , Lanka, S. , Sayed, A. , and Taher, M. , 2010, “Properties of Single and Dual Matrix Aluminum–Carbon Nanotube Composites Processed Via Spark Plasma Extrusion (SPE),” Mater. Sci. Eng. A, 527(21–22), pp. 5686–5690. [CrossRef]
Poncharal, P. , Wang, Z. , Ugarte, D. , and de Heer, W. A. , 1999, “Electrostatic Deflections and Electromechanical Resonances of Carbon Nanotubes,” Science, 283(5407), pp. 1513–1516. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Qian, D. , and Dickey, E. , 2008, “In‐Situ Transmission Electron Microscopy Studies of Polymer–Carbon Nanotube Composite Deformation,” J. Microsc., 204(1), pp. 39–45. [CrossRef]
Treacy, M. , Ebbesen, T. , and Gibson, J. , 1996, “Exceptionally High Young's Modulus Observed for Individual Carbon Nanotubes,” Nature, 381(6584), pp. 678–680. [CrossRef]
Wong, E. W. , Sheehan, P. E. , and Lieber, C. M. , 1997, “Nanobeam Mechanics: Elasticity, Strength, and Toughness of Nanorods and Nanotubes,” Science, 277(5334), pp. 1971–1975. [CrossRef]
Yu, M. F. , Lourie, O. , Dyer, M. J. , Moloni, K. , Kelly, T. F. , and Ruoff, R. S. , 2000, “Strength and Breaking Mechanism of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes Under Tensile Load,” Science, 287(5453), pp. 637–640. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Amano, R. , Marek, S. , Schultz, B. , and Rohatgi, P. , 2014, “Laser Engineered Net Shaping Process for 316L/15% Nickel Coated Titanium Carbide Metal Matrix Composite,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 136(5), p. 051007. [CrossRef]
Bakshi, S. R. , Singh, V. , Balani, K. , McCartney, D. G. , Seal, S. , and Agarwal, A. , 2008, “Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Aluminum Composite Coating Via Cold Spraying,” Surf. Coat. Technol., 202(21), pp. 5162–5169. [CrossRef]
Cha, S. I. , Kim, K. T. , Lee, K. H. , Mo, C. B. , and Hong, S. H. , 2005, “Strengthening and Toughening of Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Alumina Nanocomposite Fabricated by Molecular Level Mixing Process,” Scr. Mater., 53(7), pp. 793–797. [CrossRef]
Chen, W. , Tu, J. , Wang, L. , Gan, H. , Xu, Z. , and Zhang, X. , 2003, “Tribological Application of Carbon Nanotubes in a Metal-Based Composite Coating and Composites,” Carbon, 41(2), pp. 215–222. [CrossRef]
Deng, C. , Wang, D. , Zhang, X. , and Li, A. , 2007, “Processing and Properties of Carbon Nanotubes Reinforced Aluminum Composites,” Mater. Sci. Eng. A, 444(1), pp. 138–145. [CrossRef]
He, C. , Zhao, N. , Shi, C. , Du, X. , Li, J. , Li, H. , and Cui, Q. , 2007, “An Approach to Obtaining Homogeneously Dispersed Carbon Nanotubes in Al Powders for Preparing Reinforced Al‐Matrix Composites,” Adv. Mater., 19(8), pp. 1128–1132. [CrossRef]
Jeyasimman, D. , Sivaprasad, K. , Sivasankaran, S. , and Narayanasamy, R. , 2014, “Fabrication and Consolidation Behavior of Al 6061 Nanocomposite Powders Reinforced by Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes,” Powder Technol., 258, pp. 189–197. [CrossRef]
Jiang, L. , Fan, G. , Li, Z. , Kai, X. , Zhang, D. , Chen, Z. , Humphries, S. , Heness, G. , and Yeung, W. Y. , 2011, “An Approach to the Uniform Dispersion of a High Volume Fraction of Carbon Nanotubes in Aluminum Powder,” Carbon, 49(6), pp. 1965–1971. [CrossRef]
Kang, K. , Bae, G. , Kim, B. , and Lee, C. , 2012, “Thermally Activated Reactions of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Reinforced Aluminum Matrix Composite During the Thermal Spray Consolidation,” Mater. Chem. Phys., 133(1), pp. 495–499. [CrossRef]
Kwon, H. , Estili, M. , Takagi, K. , Miyazaki, T. , and Kawasaki, A. , 2009, “Combination of Hot Extrusion and Spark Plasma Sintering for Producing Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Aluminum Matrix Composites,” Carbon, 47(3), pp. 570–577. [CrossRef]
Kwon, H. , and Leparoux, M. , 2012, “Hot Extruded Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Aluminum Matrix Composite Materials,” Nanotechnology, 23(41), p. 415701. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Kwon, H. , Park, D. H. , Silvain, J. F. , and Kawasaki, A. , 2010, “Investigation of Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Aluminum Matrix Composite Materials,” Compos. Sci. Technol., 70(3), pp. 546–550. [CrossRef]
Kwon, H. , Saarna, M. , Yoon, S. , Weidenkaff, A. , and Leparoux, M. , 2014, “Effect of Milling Time on Dual-Nanoparticulate-Reinforced Aluminum Alloy Matrix Composite Materials,” Mater. Sci. Eng. A, 590, pp. 338–345. [CrossRef]
Laha, T. , Agarwal, A. , McKechnie, T. , and Seal, S. , 2004, “Synthesis and Characterization of Plasma Spray Formed Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Aluminum Composite,” Mater. Sci. Eng. A, 381(1), pp. 249–258. [CrossRef]
Laha, T. , Liu, Y. , and Agarwal, A. , 2007, “Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Aluminum Nanocomposite Via Plasma and High Velocity Oxy-Fuel Spray Forming,” J. Nanosci. Nanotechnol., 7(2), pp. 515–524. [PubMed]
Li, H. , Kang, J. , He, C. , Zhao, N. , Liang, C. , and Li, B. , 2013, “Mechanical Properties and Interfacial Analysis of Aluminum Matrix Composites Reinforced by Carbon Nanotubes With Diverse Structures,” Mater. Sci. Eng. A, 577, pp. 120–124. [CrossRef]
Liao, J. , and Tan, M.-J. , 2011, “Mixing of Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) and Aluminum Powder for Powder Metallurgy Use,” Powder Technol., 208(1), pp. 42–48. [CrossRef]
Liu, Z. , Xiao, B. , Wang, W. , and Ma, Z. , 2013, “Developing High-Performance Aluminum Matrix Composites With Directionally Aligned Carbon Nanotubes by Combining Friction Stir Processing and Subsequent Rolling,” Carbon, 62, pp. 35–42. [CrossRef]
Liu, Q. , Ke, L. , Liu, F. , Huang, C. , Xing, L. , and Bacsa, R. R. , 2013, “Microstructure and Mechanical Property of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Reinforced Aluminum Matrix Composites Fabricated by Friction Stir Processing,” Mater. Des., 45, pp. 343–348. [CrossRef]
Shin, S. , Choi, H. , and Bae, D. , 2014, “Micro-Alloying Assisted Consolidation of Aluminum/Carbon Nanotubes Powder,” Mater. Sci. Eng. A, 599, pp. 46–50. [CrossRef]
Tu, J. , Yang, Y. , Wang, L. , Ma, X. , and Zhang, X. , 2001, “Tribological Properties of Carbon-Nanotube-Reinforced Copper Composites,” Tribol. Lett., 10(4), pp. 225–228. [CrossRef]
Xu, C. , Wei, B. , Ma, R. , Liang, J. , Ma, X. , and Wu, D. , 1999, “Fabrication of Aluminum–Carbon Nanotube Composites and Their Electrical Properties,” Carbon, 37(5), pp. 855–858. [CrossRef]
Zhou, S. , Zhang, X. , Ding, Z. , Min, C. , Xu, G. , and Zhu, W. , 2007, “Fabrication and Tribological Properties of Carbon Nanotubes Reinforced Al Composites Prepared by Pressureless Infiltration Technique,” Composites, Part A, 38(2), pp. 301–306. [CrossRef]
Rozhin, A. G. , Sakakibara, Y. , Kataura, H. , Matsuzaki, S. , Ishida, K. , Achiba, Y. , and Tokumoto, M. , 2005, “Anisotropic Saturable Absorption of Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes Aligned in Polyvinyl Alcohol,” Chem. Phys. Lett., 405(4), pp. 288–293. [CrossRef]
Sierra Gallego, G. , Barrault, J. , Batiot-Dupeyrat, C. , and Mondragón, F. , 2010, “Production of Hydrogen and MWCNTs by Methane Decomposition Over Catalysts Originated From LaNiO3 Perovskite,” Catal. Today, 149(3), pp. 365–371. [CrossRef]
Isaza, S. M. C. , and Meza, J. M. , 2013, “A Nanoindentation Study of Mechanical Properties of Polyvinyl Alcohol Reinforced With Carbon Nanotubes,” Colombia-US Workshop on Nanotechnology in Energy and Medical Applications, Universidad de Antioquia, Plaza Mayor, Medellín, Colombia.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

MMC's composite interfaces: (a) interface of the composite material reinforced with PVA at 0.5 wt.% of CNT and (b) interface of the composite material reinforced with PVA at 2 wt.% of CNT

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

MMC's composite interfaces: (a) stack of aluminum sheets without PVA, (b) stack of aluminum sheets and layers of reinforced polymer at 0.5 wt.% CNTs, (c) stack of aluminum sheets and layers of reinforced polymer at 2 wt.% of CNTs, and (d) and (e) close up of (b) and (c), respectively

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

PVA without CNTs. PVA/CNTs bad dispersed and PVA/CNTs well dispersed.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Process scheme for the MMCs

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

(a) Micro-XRD of the composite: composite material reinforced with polymer manufactured with PVA at 0.5 wt.% of CNT and (b) interface manufactured of the composite material reinforced with the polymer of PVA at 2 wt.% of CNTs

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Tension test of composites: (a) stress strain curves, (b) ultimate strength, and (c) yield strength

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Nano-indentation test at the interface between aluminum sheets: (a) elastic modulus, (b) imprints left by the test, (c) maximum elastic modulus at the interface, and (d) characteristic curve for nano-indentation test




Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In