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Metals 2016, 6(9), 213; doi:10.3390/met6090213

Sintering Behaviors of Carbon Nanotubes—Aluminum Composite Powders

Joining and Welding Research Institute, Osaka University, 11-1 Mihogaoka, Ibaraki, Osaka 567-0047, Japan
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hugo F. Lopez
Received: 8 July 2016 / Revised: 27 August 2016 / Accepted: 31 August 2016 / Published: 6 September 2016
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Abstract

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are promising reinforcements for fabricating aluminum (Al) matrix composites with outstanding properties. The understanding of the consolidation process of CNT–Al composite powders plays a significant role in achieving high performances of bulk composites. In this study, an advanced consolidation technique of spark plasma sintering (SPS) was used to fabricate CNT–Al composites with homogeneously dispersed CNTs. The sintering kinetics of pure Al powders and those powders coated with 1 wt % CNTs were studied. By combining the electrical conductivity and relative density results, it was found that the sintering process consisted of two stages with distinct densification rates. The second stage with a much lower rate was governed by the breaking down of alumina films at primary particle boundaries. The activation energy of the controlling second stage increased by 55% in CNT–Al composite powders compared to that of pure Al powder. As a result, CNT addition led to the overall decrease of sintering ability, which raised a challenge in the processing of CNT–Al composites. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon nanotubes; metal matrix composites; spark plasma sintering; density; electrical conductivity; sintering kinetics carbon nanotubes; metal matrix composites; spark plasma sintering; density; electrical conductivity; sintering kinetics
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, B.; Kondoh, K. Sintering Behaviors of Carbon Nanotubes—Aluminum Composite Powders. Metals 2016, 6, 213.

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