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Fabrication and Characterization of SWCNT Reinforced Aluminum Composites

R. Zhang, J. Lo, Canmet Materials, B. Simard, J. Guan, O. Bourne


Single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) were successfully incorporated into pure aluminum by a modified powder metallurgy route in which the SWCNTs were very homogeneously dispersed in the aluminum matrix. Sintered densities of over 99% of its theoretical density were achieved through the optimization of the processing conditions. This composite has a potential application for the power transmission cables since the addition of SWCNTs improves the strength of aluminum while maintaining its high electrical conductivity and also makes the electrical power cables much lighter than the traditional aluminum composite cables. In addition, the electrical current carrying capacity (ampacity) is increased. The relationships among pressing pressure, sintering parameter and sintered density in the fabrication process of SWCNT reinforced aluminum composites were discussed and the electrical properties were also measured for both composites and aluminum matrix.

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