Hard and tough carbon nanotube-reinforced zirconia-toughened alumina composites prepared by spark plasma sintering
Echeberria, J. × Rodríguez, N. Vleugels, Jef Vanmeensel, Kim Reyes-Rojas, A. Garcia-Reyes, A. Domínguez-Rios, C. Aguilar-Elguézabal, A. Bocanegra-Bernal, M.H. #
Carbon vol:50 issue:2 pages:706-717
It is demonstrated that 0.1 wt% of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) or single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) added to zirconia toughened alumina (ZTA) composites is enough to obtain high hardness and fracture toughness at indentation loads of 1, 5, and 10 kg. ZTA composites with 0.01 and 0.1 wt% of MWCNTs or SWCNTs were densified by spark plasma sintering (SPS) at 1520 degrees C resulting in a higher hardness and comparable fracture toughness to the ZTA matrix material. The observed toughening mechanisms include crack deflection, pullout of CNTs as well as bridged cracks leading to improved fracture toughness without evidence of transformation toughening of the ZrO2 phase. Scanning electron microscopy showed that MWCNTs rupture by a sword-in-sheath mechanism in the tensile direction contributing to an additional increase in fracture toughness. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.