Physical and Mechanical Properties of Graphene Nanoplatelets Reinforced Al6061-T6 Composites processed by Spark Plasma Sintering
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJOM. 2020, 72 (6), 2295-2304. http://dx.doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1007/s11837-020-04139-y
Aluminium matrix composites with high specific strength are attracting attention for use in automobile and aerospace applications. Graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) were added in 0.1, 0.5, and 1 weight fractions to an Al6061 matrix. Spark plasma sintering was used with a combination of solution sonication and ball milling to disperse the GNPs in the Al6061 matrix. The evolution of the microstructure was studied using optical and scanning electron microscopy. The uniformity of the GNP distribution is discussed in light of selected ball milling parameters. Electron backscattered diffraction analysis was used to measure the grain size and misorientation. X-ray diffraction analysis and transmission electron microscopy revealed neat and clean interfaces between the matrix and GNPs. Hardness and tensile testing revealed a considerable increment in the strength of the final composite after addition of GNPs. Traces of GNP clusters were found in the 1 wt.% composite as well as premature failure at lower strain due to the insufficient load transfer capability of the Al6061-T6 matrix. An illustrative two-dimensional model was developed to explain the load transfer behavior and the deterioration of the mechanical properties.