Aluminum composite reinforced with multiwalled carbon nanotubes from plasma spraying of spray dried powders

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Homogenous dispersion of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in micron sized aluminum silicon alloy powders was achieved by spray drying. Excellent flowability of the powders allowed fabrication of thick composite coatings and hollow cylinders (5 mm thick) containing 5 wt.% and 10 wt.% CNT by plasma spraying. Two phase microstructure with matrix having good distribution of CNT and CNT rich clusters was observed. Microstructural evolution has been explained using single splat and the infiltration of CNT clusters by liquid metal. Partial CNT surface damage was observed in case of the 10 wt.% CNT coating due to CNT mesh formation and smaller size of spray dried agglomerate. Increase in the elastic modulus and improvement in the yield strength and elastic recovery properties due to CNT addition was observed by nanoindentation. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.