The thermal expansion response of multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) reinforced Al matrix composites was employed to discuss the improvement of the load transfer at the interface between the MWCNTs and the Al matrix. An aluminum carbide (Al4C3) nanostructure at the end of the MWCNTs, incorporated in the Al matrix, was produced by appropriate heat-treatment. The stress contrast around the Al4C3 observed in the high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) image revealed the evidence of a trace of friction, which would lead to the enhancement of the anchor effect from the Al matrix. This anchor effect of Al4C3 may hinder the local interfacial slippage and constrain the deformation of the Al matrix. As a result, the thermal expansion behavior became linear and reversible under cyclic thermal load. It is concluded that the formation of Al4C3 could effectively enhance the load transfer in MWCNT/Al composites. The yield strength of MWCNT/Al composites was substantially increased under the appropriate quantity of Al4C3 produced at the MWCNT-Al interface by precisely controlled heat-treatment.
- Carbon nanotubes
- Mechanical properties
- Metal matrix composites (MMCs)
- Thermal analysis