Aluminum Carbon Nanotube (Al-CNT) Composites reinforced by CNTs coated with Al using Electroless Deposition

M. Elsharkawi, A. Esawi
The American University in Cairo,

Keywords: Al-CNT composites, electroless plating, casting, mechanical properties


Aluminum-Carbon Nanotube (Al-CNT) composites have been widely investigated due to their superior mechanical properties. These composites were mostly produced by powder processing techniques. High energy ball milling was reported to be effective in dispersing the CNTs in Al. On the other hand, limited studies used casting to produce Al-CNT composites in spite of its simplicity, lower cost and shape flexibility. The main challenges were the segregation of the CNTs and the formation of aluminum carbide. In this research work, Multi-Walled CNTs (MWCNTs) were coated by aluminum using a novel electroless plating approach that relies on AlCl3-Urea as a room temperature ionic liquid (RTIL). The produced Al-coated CNTs were used as a feedstock reinforcement phase for pure aluminum to create both powder compacted and cast samples such that the overall weight percent of CNTs in each sample was 2%. The tensile strength and Vickers hardness were investigated and found to increase by 164.76 % and 147.15 % for the powder compacted samples, while the increase was 353.4% and 338.7% for the cast samples compared to pure Al samples processed using the same techniques.