Mechanical Behavior of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube Reinforced 7075 Aluminum Alloy Composites Prepared by Mechanical Milling and Hot Extrusion

In this paper, multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were synthesized by spray pyrolysis to be used later as material reinforcement in the production of MWCNTs/Al7075 aluminum composites. Both, MWCNTs and MWCNTs/Al7075 composites were microstructurally and mechanically characterized. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis shows MWCNTs formed by multiple layers rolled on themselves forming a tube shape with lengths up to 1300 µm and diameters ranging from 55 to 120 nm. MWCNTs were added to the aluminum matrix in different concentrations up to 3.0 wt%. Their dispersion in the aluminum matrix was carried out by ultrasonic/methanol method followed by high-energy mechanical milling process. The effect of MWCNTs on the morphology and mechanical behavior of composites were evaluated. Results indicate that a homogeneous dispersion of CNTs was obtained as a consequence of the dispersion routes used in the production of composites, observing no damage on their morphology. The mechanical behavior of the composites shows a noticeable improvement for MWCNTs concentrations above 2.0 wt%, with ductility similar to that found in the literature for the Al7075 commercial alloy.