Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 22, pp 14064–14073 | Cite as

Enhanced tribology, thermal and electrical properties of Al-CNT composite processed via spark plasma sintering for transmission conductor

  • C. O. UjahEmail author
  • A. P. I. Popoola
  • O. M. Popoola
  • V. S. Aigbodion
Electronic materials


Studies show that monolithic Al lacks requisite properties required for industrial applications. However, these properties can be enhanced by the addition of high-performing reinforcement such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Here, Al is reinforced with CNTs and consolidated via spark plasma sintering, with the aims of improving its tribology, thermal and electrical properties. The tribological test was conducted on a ball-on-disc tribometer. The thermal test was done with the thermogravimetric analyzer and laser flasher apparatus; the electrical conductivity test was carried out with four-point probe meter. Results obtained showed that 4 wt% of CNTs improved the COF of Al alloy by 52% and wear volume by 23%. It also improved the thermal conductivity by 35%. The electrical result showed a marginal improvement of 2% with Al-8CNTs. Therefore, the improvements in tribology and thermal properties without compromising electrical conductivity show that Al-CNTs are a robust material for industrial application especially in high-transmission conductor.



The authors would like to appreciate the financial support of the following: CEEP and TUT, Pretoria, South Africa. Also, BIUST Botswana is appreciated for assisting with their tribometer.


The funding was provided by Tshwane University of Technology (Grand No. 2018 internal bursary award).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical, Metallurgical and Materials EngineeringTshwane University of TechnologyPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Electrical EngineeringTshwane University of TechnologyPretoriaSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Metallurgical and Materials EngineeringUniversity of NigeriaNsukkaNigeria

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