Enhancing copper infiltration into alumina using spark plasma sintering to achieve high performance Al2O3/Cu composites

Yingge Shi, Wenge Chen, Longlong Dong, Hanyan Li, Yong Qing Fu

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40 Citations (Scopus)
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Al2O3/Cu (with 30 wt% of Cu) composites were prepared using a combined liquid infiltration and spark plasma sintering (SPS) method using pre-processed composite powders. Crystalline structures, morphology and physical/mechanical properties of the sintered composites were studied and compared with those obtained from similar composites prepared using a standard liquid infiltration process without any external pressure. Results showed that densities of the Al2O3/Cu composites prepared without applying pressure were quite low. Whereas the composites sintered using the SPS (with a high pressure during sintering in 10 minutes) showed dense structures, and Cu phases were homogenously infiltrated and dispersed with a network from inside the Al2O3 skeleton structures. Fracture toughness of Al2O3/Cu composites prepared without using external pressure (with a sintering time of 1.5 hours) was 4.2 MPa·m1/2, whereas that using the SPS process was 6.5 MPa·m1/2. These toughness readings were increased by 18% and 82%, respectively, compared with that of pure alumina. Hardness, density and electrical resistivity of the samples prepared without pressure were 693 HV, 82.5% and 0.01Ω•m, whereas those using the SPS process were 842 HV, 99.1%, 0.002Ω•m, respectively. The enhancement in these properties using the SPS process are mainly due to the efficient pressurized infiltration of Cu phases into the network of Al2O3 skeleton structures, and also due to high intensity discharge plasma which produces fully densified composites in a short time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-64
JournalCeramics International
Issue number1
Early online date11 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


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