Sintering behavior and thermal conductivity of nickel-coated graphite flake/copper composites fabricated by spark plasma sintering

  • Hui Xu
  • Jian-hao Chen
  • Shu-bin Ren
  • Xin-bo He
  • Xuan-hui Qu


Nickel-coated graphite flakes/copper (GN/Cu) composites were fabricated by spark plasma sintering with the surface of graphite flakes (GFs) being modified by Ni–P electroless plating. The effects of the phase transition of the amorphous Ni–P plating and of Ni diffusion into the Cu matrix on the densification behavior, interfacial microstructure, and thermal conductivity (TC) of the GN/Cu composites were systematically investigated. The introduction of Ni–P electroless plating efficiently reduced the densification temperature of uncoated GF/Cu composites from 850 to 650°C and slightly increased the TC of the X–Y basal plane of the GF/Cu composites with 20vol%–30vol% graphite flakes. However, when the graphite flake content was greater than 30vol%, the TC of the GF/Cu composites decreased with the introduction of Ni–P plating as a result of the combined effect of the improved heat-transfer interface with the transition layer, P generated at the interface, and the diffusion of Ni into the matrix. Given the effect of the Ni content on the TC of the Cu matrix and on the interface thermal resistance, a modified effective medium approximation model was used to predict the TC of the prepared GF/Cu composites.


copper matrix composites graphite flake nickel–phosphorus transition layer sintering behavior thermal conductivity 


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This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51374028) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (FRF-GF-17-B37).


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Copyright information

© University of Science and Technology Beijing and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hui Xu
    • 1
  • Jian-hao Chen
    • 1
  • Shu-bin Ren
    • 1
  • Xin-bo He
    • 1
  • Xuan-hui Qu
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Advanced Materials and TechnologyUniversity of Science and Technology BeijingBeijingChina

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