Technical Brief

Fabrication and Characterization of Carbon Nanotube Nanocomposites Into 2024-T3 Al Substrates Via Friction Stir Welding Process

[+] Author and Article Information
H. E. Misak

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Wichita State University,
1845 Fairmount,
Wichita, KS 67260-0133

C. A. Widener

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology,
501 E. Saint Joseph Street,
Rapid City, SD 57701

D. A. Burford

NIAR Advanced Joining Laboratory,
Wichita State University,
1845 Fairmount,
Wichita, KS 67260-0133
e-mail: dwight.burford@wichita.edu

R. Asmatulu

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Wichita State University,
1845 Fairmount,
Wichita, KS 67260-0133
e-mail: ramazan.asmatulu@wichita.edu

Contributed by the Materials Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received June 9, 2013; final manuscript received January 21, 2014; published online February 24, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Jefferey Kysar.

J. Eng. Mater. Technol 136(2), 024501 (Feb 24, 2014) (5 pages) Paper No: MATS-13-1096; doi: 10.1115/1.4026838 History: Received June 09, 2013; Revised January 21, 2014

Carbon nanotube (CNT)-aluminum (Al) nanocomposites were prepared using friction stir welding (FSW) processing, and then the mechanical properties of these nanostructured materials were determined using the universal MTS machine. The fabrication of the CNT-metal composite consisted of the following steps: (a) homogenizing the CNTs and Al powder at three different ratios: 0/100, 25/75, and 50/50, (b) compacting the mixtures into grooves that were initially machined into the substrate (2024-T3) for the three cases, (c) incorporating CNTs in a substrate by the FSW process, and (d) validating the dispersion of the CNTs into the Al substrates after the characterization steps. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis and other physical characterization tests (e.g., mechanical, metallography, and fracture surfaces) were conducted on the prepared substrates. Test results showed that CNTs were dispersed and aligned uniquely in the different locations of the metal structures depending on the FSW zones: advancing, retreating, transverse, and stir zone regions. The mechanical properties of each zone were also compared to the distribution of CNTs. The advancing side had the highest amount of CNTs mixed into the aluminum substrate while retaining the yield strength (YS); however, the elongation was reduced. The retreating side had little to no CNTs distributed into the substrate and the mechanical properties were not significantly affected. The stir zone YS had little influence of the CNTs at the lower CNT/Al powder ratio (25/50), but a significant effect was noticed at the higher ratio of 50/50. The elongation to failure was significantly affected for both cases. The transverse zone YS and elongation to failure was significantly reduced by the powder mixtures. These results may open up new possibilities in the aircraft and other manufacturing industries for future development in the field.

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Fig. 1

Schematic views of different microstructural zones caused by FSW process

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Fig. 2

Photographs showing (a) tool moving in counterclockwise rotation with side coming toward weld (advancing side) and side moving away from tool (retreating side), and (b) pin used in experiments

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Fig. 3

Views of tensile specimens taken from specific spots to characterize tensile strengths of FSW substrates

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Fig. 4

Optical microscope images showing (a) sample A (0/100), (b) indication of normal FSW feature called onion ring, (c) sample B (25/75), (d) indication of pronounced lamellar structure described as chaotic and swirling, (e) sample C (50/50), and (f) indication of pronounced lamellar structure described as chaotic and swirling (not observed in bottom half)

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Fig. 5

Graphics showing (a) ultimate tensile strengths, (b) two percent yield strengths, and (c) percent elongations of retreating, advancing, advancing/retreating, and transverse specimens at different percentages of CNT/Al mixtures

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Fig. 6

Images of fractured FSW specimens after tensile loadings

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Fig. 7

Photographs showing comparisons of fractured surfaces of samples A (0/100), B (25/75), and C (50/50)

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Fig. 8

SEM images showing (a) stir zone fracture surface of advancing side, and (b) expanded view of location to identify aligned CNTs, and (c) the expanded view of the location indicating the CNTs alignment



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