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Interfacial Reaction During High Energy Ball Milling Dispersion of Carbon Nanotubes into Ti6Al4V

Adegbenjo, AO and Olubambi, PA and Potgieter, JH and Nsiah-Baafi, E and Shongwe, MB (2017) Interfacial Reaction During High Energy Ball Milling Dispersion of Carbon Nanotubes into Ti6Al4V. Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance, 26 (12). pp. 6047-6056. ISSN 1059-9495


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The unique thermal and mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have made them choice reinforcements for metal matrix composites (MMCs). However, there still remains a critical challenge in achieving homogeneous dispersion of CNTs in metallic matrices. Although high energy ball milling (HEBM) has been reported as an effective method of dispersing CNTs into metal matrices, a careful selection of the milling parameters is important not to compromise the structural integrity of CNTs which may cause interfacial reactions with the matrix. In this study, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were purified by annealing in argon and vacuum atmospheres at 1000 and 1800 °C, respectively, for 5 h to remove possible metallic catalyst impurities. Subsequently, 1, 2 and 3 wt.% MWCNTs were dispersed by adapted HEBM into Ti6Al4V alloy metal matrix. Raman spectroscopy (RS), x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive x-ray spectrometry and transmission electron microscopy techniques were used to characterize the as-received and annealed MWCNTs, as well as the admixed MWCNT/Ti6Al4V nanocomposite powders. The experimental results showed that vacuum annealing successfully eliminated retained nickel (Ni) catalysts from MWCNTs, while the adapted HEBM method achieved a relative homogeneous dispersion of MWCNTs into the Ti6Al4V matrix and helped to control interfacial reactions between defective MWCNTs and the metal matrix.

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