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Materials (Basel). 2014 Sep 19;7(9):6748-6767. doi: 10.3390/ma7096748.

Matrix Structure Evolution and Nanoreinforcement Distribution in Mechanically Milled and Spark Plasma Sintered Al-SiC Nanocomposites.

Author information

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Center of Research Excellence in Nanotechnology, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia. nouari@kfupm.edu.sa.
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Center of Research Excellence in Nanotechnology, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia. aismaila@kfupm.edu.sa.
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Center of Research Excellence in Nanotechnology, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia. sfhassan@kfupm.edu.sa.
4
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Center of Research Excellence in Nanotechnology, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia. naqeeli@kfupm.edu.sa.

Abstract

Development of homogenous metal matrix nanocomposites with uniform distribution of nanoreinforcement, preserved matrix nanostructure features, and improved properties, was possible by means of innovative processing techniques. In this work, Al-SiC nanocomposites were synthesized by mechanical milling and consolidated through spark plasma sintering. Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FE-SEM) with Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) facility was used for the characterization of the extent of SiC particles' distribution in the mechanically milled powders and spark plasma sintered samples. The change of the matrix crystallite size and lattice strain during milling and sintering was followed through X-ray diffraction (XRD). The density and hardness of the developed materials were evaluated as function of SiC content at fixed sintering conditions using a densimeter and a digital microhardness tester, respectively. It was found that milling for 24 h led to uniform distribution of SiC nanoreinforcement, reduced particle size and crystallite size of the aluminum matrix, and increased lattice strain. The presence and amount of SiC reinforcement enhanced the milling effect. The uniform distribution of SiC achieved by mechanical milling was maintained in sintered samples. Sintering led to the increase in the crystallite size of the aluminum matrix; however, it remained less than 100 nm in the composite containing 10 wt.% SiC. Density and hardness of sintered nanocomposites were reported and compared with those published in the literature.

KEYWORDS:

crystallite size; distribution; matrix; mechanical milling; nanocomposites; nanopowders; nanoreinforcement; spark plasma sintering; strain

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