Low-Cost Continuous Production of Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Aluminum Composites
Durkin, Craig Raymond
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The research conducted in this study was concerned with the development of low-cost continuous production of carbon fiber/aluminum composites. Two coatings, alumina and zirconia, were applied to the fibers to protect against interfacial degradation. They were applied using a sol-gel method and common metal salts. The fibers were infiltrated with molten aluminum using an ultrasound sonicator. The resultant composites were well-infiltrated and were tested in tension to determine their mechanical properties. Strengths were only 15-35% of the theoretical values predicted by the rule of mixtures. The composite microstructure revealed a sizable void fraction and that the fibers within the composites did not contain any coating on their surface. It was hypothesized that this was a result of few exposed graphite plane edges on the fiber surface, causing poor adhesion of the oxide coating to the fiber surface. To improve adhesion, an amorphous carbon coating was applied to the fiber surface, but still the oxide coatings were removed from the fibers upon infiltration. It was found, however, that the carbon coating on its own did strengthen the interface between the fiber and the aluminum.