Carbon nanotubes as a unique agent to fabricate nanoceramic/metal composite powders for additive manufacturing

Weiwei Zhou, Xiaohao Sun, Keiko Kikuchi, Naoyuki Nomura, Kyosuke Yoshimi, Akira Kawasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Laser powder bed fusion (PBF) offers many technological opportunities for producing high-performance composite parts with tailored structures. However, fabrication of suitable composite powders possessing homogenous dispersion, good flowability, suitable particle size and distribution is a prerequisite and main challenge currently faced. In this study, a novel strategy was developed to prepare nanoceramic/metal powders by using acid-treated carbon nanotubes (ATCNTs) as an agent. In detail, a 3 wt% ATCNT/Al2O3 colloid, in which the negatively-charged ATCNTs were partially covered with positively-charged Al2O3 nanoparticles under electrostatic attraction, was obtained by heteroagglomeration; subsequently, the uncovered surface areas of ATCNTs were intimately bonded to the positively-charged MoTiAl powders during their mixing. This ATCNT bridging made individual Al2O3 uniformly wrap on the surface of MoTiAl without aggregation. The Al2O3-coated MoTiAl powders remained similar in shape, particle size, and distribution to uncoated ones, simultaneously showing higher laser absorptivity due to an increased surface roughness. The PBF-processed Al2O3-ATCNT/MoTiAl composite was dense, in which Al2O3 nanoparticles were homogenously dispersed and intimately contacted with MoTiAl, giving rise to an increase in the hardness of the matrix.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-285
Number of pages10
JournalMaterials and Design
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 5


  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Dispersion
  • Laser absorptivity
  • Laser powder bed fusion
  • Metal matrix composites (MMCs)


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