Alumina Reinforced with Carbon Nanotubes Leads to Improved Properties - News Item

Materials Scientists at the University of California, Davis have successfully produced an alumina ceramic material reinforced with carbon nanotubes.

The composition of the material they produced was alumina with 5-10% carbon nanotubes and 5% finely milled niobium. The mixture was densified using spark plasma sintering, allowing more rapid consolidation at lower temperatures compared to more conventional sintering processes.

The new material is claimed to possess a fracture toughness up to five time greater than conventional alumina. Furthermore, it is able to conduct electricity, with a conductivity ten trillion times greater than pure alumina.

Interestingly it also can act as either a heat barrier or conductor depending on the alignment of the nanotubes. If heat is applied parallel to the nanotube orientation it will conduct heat. If the heat us applied perpendicular to the nanotube alignment, the heat is reflected, making it an attractive materials for use in thermal barrier coatings.


Posted September 16th, 2003


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