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Effect of mechanical alloying time and carbon nanotube (CNT) content on the evolution of aluminum (Al)–CNT composite powders

Abstract

One of the major obstacles to the effective use of carbon nanotubes as reinforcements in metal matrix composites is their agglomeration and poor distribution/dispersion within the metallic matrix. In the present work, we use mechanical alloying (MA) to mechanically mix CNT (2 and 5 wt.%) with Al powders. These powders would be used as precursors for subsequent consolidation to generate bulk CNT-Al composites. Hence controlling the initial powder characteristics prior to high temperature consolidation is important. Up to 48 h of milling was employed to investigate the effect of milling time on the particle size, morphology and CNT dispersions. The results show that particle size and morphology vary with milling time and CNT content. Also the addition of process control agents such as methanol can aid in controlling the powder characteristics.

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the following group of undergraduate students at the American University in Cairo for their assistance with the ball milling experiments: Abdel Rahman Reda, Ahmed Abdel Gawad, Ahmed Sayed, Basel Thalathiny, Mahmoud El-Sarag and Moataz Hamouda. Dr. Esawi also wishes to acknowledge the financial support by the Science and Technology Research Center (STRC) at the American University in Cairo. Grateful thanks to Mr. Mostafa El Borady and Mr. Ahmed Nagy from the Science and Technology Research Center for their continuous assistance. Thanks also to Mr. Don DeAndrade at SDSU for conducting the sieve analysis.

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Correspondence to K. Morsi.

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Morsi, K., Esawi, A. Effect of mechanical alloying time and carbon nanotube (CNT) content on the evolution of aluminum (Al)–CNT composite powders. J Mater Sci 42, 4954–4959 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-006-0699-y

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Keywords

  • Milling
  • Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy
  • Mechanical Alloy
  • Aluminum Particle
  • Process Control Agent