Microstructure and properties of graphite-reinforced copper matrix composites

  • Jhulan Kumar
  • Subrata Mondal
Technical Paper


In this study, copper matrix composites reinforced with graphite (5, 10, 15 wt%) were produced using powder metallurgy process. Milled powders were compacted under 637 MPa pressure to produce cylindrical specimens of approximate dimension of 10 mm diameter and 30 mm length. Cylindrical specimens were sintered under vacuum at 900, 950, 1000 °C for 2 h holding time at highest temperature. Hardness and compression strength of composite samples were determined. The microstructures of specimens were investigated by optical microscope, scanning electron microscope and energy-dispersive spectroscopy. Homogeneous distribution of reinforcement phase in copper matrix composites was observed. Graphite reinforcement improved the compression strength of composites of around 108% with 5 wt%, around 34% with 10 wt% of reinforcement. However, significant decrease of compression strength was observed with 15 wt% of graphite reinforcement in the copper matrix. Reinforcement of graphite into copper matrix has improved the wear property of the composite materials.


Metal matrix composite Graphite Copper Morphology Matrix-reinforcement bonding 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Han XM, Gao F, Su LL, Fu R, Zhang E (2017) Effect of graphite content on the tribological performance of copper-matrix composites under different friction speeds. J Tribol Trans Asme 139(4):041601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ren SB, Xu H, Chen JH, Qu XH (2016) Effects of sintering process on microstructure and properties of flake graphite-diamond/copper composites. Mater Manuf Process 31(10):1377–1383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bien TN, Gu WH, Bac LH, Kim JC (2014) Preparation and characterization of copper–graphite composites by electrical explosion of wire in liquid. J Nanosci Nanotechnol 14(11):8750–8755CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Li JF, Zhang L, Xiao JK, Zhou KC (2015) Sliding wear behavior of copper-based composites reinforced with graphene nanosheets and graphite. Trans Nonferr Met Soc China 25(10):3354–3362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Motozuka S, Tagaya M, Ikoma T, Yoshioka T, Xu Z, Tanaka J (2012) Preparation of copper–graphite composite particles by milling process. J Compos Mater 46(22):2829–2834CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Goudah G, Ahmad F, Mamat O (2010) Microstructural studies of sintered carbon nanotubes reinforced copper matrix composite. J Eng Sci Technol 5(3):272–283Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Zhen J et al (2017) Influence of graphite content on the dry sliding behavior of nickel alloy matrix solid lubricant composites. Tribol Int 114:322–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chen JH, Ren SB, He XB, Qu XH (2017) Properties and microstructure of nickel-coated graphite flakes/copper composites fabricated by spark plasma sintering. Carbon 121:25–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Aristizabal K, Katzensteiner A, Bachmaier A, Mucklich F, Suarez S (2017) Study of the structural defects on carbon nanotubes in metal matrix composites processed by severe plastic deformation. Carbon 125:156–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Chen XH, Xia JT, Peng JC, Li WZ, Xie SS (2000) Carbon-nanotube metal-matrix composites prepared by electroless plating. Compos Sci Technol 60(2):301–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Li SF, Sun B, Imai H, Mimoto T, Kondoh K (2013) Powder metallurgy titanium metal matrix composites reinforced with carbon nanotubes and graphite. Compos Part A Appl Sci Manuf 48:57–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Oddone V, Reich S (2017) Thermal properties of metal matrix composites with planar distribution of carbon fibres. Phys Status Solidi Rapid Res Lett 11(6):1700090CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Shirvanimoghaddam K et al (2017) Carbon fiber reinforced metal matrix composites: fabrication processes and properties. Compos Part A Appl Sci Manuf 92:70–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Yang H, Luo R, Han S, Li M (2010) Effect of the ratio of graphite/pitch coke on the mechanical and tribological properties of copper–carbon composites. Wear 268(11):1337–1341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rajkumar K, Aravindan S (2013) Tribological behavior of microwave processed copper–nanographite composites. Tribol Int 57:282–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Rajkumar K, Aravindan S (2009) Microwave sintering of copper–graphite composites. J Mater Process Technol 209(15):5601–5605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Dash K, Ray BC, Chaira D (2012) Synthesis and characterization of copper–alumina metal matrix composite by conventional and spark plasma sintering. J Alloy Compd 516:78–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Chelladurai SJS, Arthanari R, Thangaraj AN, Sekar H (2017) Dry sliding wear characterization of squeeze cast LM13/FeCu composite using response surface methodology. China Foundry (J Artic) 14(6):525–533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Tjong SC, Lau KC (2000) Tribological behaviour of SiC particle-reinforced copper matrix composites. Mater Lett 43(5):274–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Chelladurai SJS, Arthanari R (2018) Investigation on mechanical and wear properties of zinc-coated steel wires reinforced LM6 aluminum alloy composites by squeeze casting. Surf Rev Lett. Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Chelladurai SJS, Arthanari R, Nithyanandam N, Rajendran K, Radhakrishnan KK (2017) Investigation of mechanical properties and dry sliding wear behaviour of squeeze cast LM6 aluminium alloy reinforced with copper coated short steel fibers. Trans Indian Inst Met. Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sarmadi H, Kokabi AH, Seyed Reihani SM (2013) Friction and wear performance of copper–graphite surface composites fabricated by friction stir processing (FSP). Wear 304(1):1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ngai TL, Zheng W, Li Y (2013) Effect of sintering temperature on the preparation of Cu–Ti3SiC2 metal matrix composite. Prog Nat Sci Mater Int 23(1):70–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kato H, Takama M, Iwai Y, Washida K, Sasaki Y (2003) Wear and mechanical properties of sintered copper–tin composites containing graphite or molybdenum disulfide. Wear 255(1):573–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Alam SN, Kumar L (2016) “Mechanical properties of aluminium based metal matrix composites reinforced with graphite nanoplatelets. Mater Sci Eng A Struct Mater Prop Microstruct Process 667:16–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Yilmaz O (2001) Abrasive wear of FeCr (M7C3–M23C6) reinforced iron based metal matrix composites. Mater Sci Technol 17(10):1285–1292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Venkateswaran K, Kamaraj M, Rao KP (2006) Wear behaviour of Fe3Al intermetallic particle reinforced PM based iron metal matrix composites. Powder Metall 49(4):374–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Samal CP, Parihar JS, Chaira D (2013) “The effect of milling and sintering techniques on mechanical properties of Cu–graphite metal matrix composite prepared by powder metallurgy route. J Alloys Compd 569:95–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Chaubey AK, Scudino S, Mukhopadhyay NK, Eckert J (2016) Processing, microstructure and mechanical properties of Al-based metal matrix composites reinforced with mechanically alloyed particles. J Mater Res 31(9):1229–1236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Zhang WX, Chai DL, Xi YL, Zhou J (2007) Investigation on fabricating technology of in situ fiber reinforced metal matrix composites. Rare Met Mater Eng 36(3):521–524Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Brazilian Society of Mechanical Sciences and Engineering 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringNational Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training and Research (NITTTR), KolkataKolkataIndia

Personalised recommendations