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Processing and Characterization of Nickel-Carbon Base Metal Matrix Composites

Description: Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) are attractive reinforcements for lightweight and high strength metal matrix composites due to their excellent mechanical and physical properties. The present work is an attempt towards investigating the effect of CNT and GNP reinforcements on the mechanical properties of nickel matrix composites. The CNT/Ni (dry milled) nanocomposites exhibiting a tensile yield strength of 350 MPa (about two times that of SPS processed monolithic nickel ~ 160 MPa) and an elongation to failure ~ 30%. In contrast, CNT/Ni (molecular level mixed) exhibited substantially higher tensile yield strength (~ 690 MPa) but limited ductility with an elongation to failure ~ 8%. The Ni-1vol%GNP (dry milled) nanocomposite exhibited the best balance of properties in terms of strength and ductility. The enhancement in the tensile strength (i.e. 370 MPa) and substantial ductility (~40%) of Ni-1vol%GNP nanocomposites was achieved due to the combined effects of grain refinement, homogeneous dispersion of GNPs in the nickel matrix, and well-bonded Ni-GNP interface, which effectively transfers stress across metal-GNP interface during tensile deformation. A second emphasis of this work was on the detailed 3D microstructural characterization of a new class of Ni-Ti-C based metal matrix composites, developed using the laser engineered net shaping (LENSTM) process. These composites consist of an in situ formed and homogeneously distributed titanium carbide (TiC) as well as graphite phase reinforcing the nickel matrix. 3D microstructure helps in determining true morphology and spatial distribution of TiC and graphite phase as well as the phase evolution sequence. These Ni-TiC-C composites exhibit excellent tribological properties (low COF), while maintaining a relatively high hardness.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Borkar, Tushar Murlidhar
Partner: UNT Libraries