Freeze-casted tungsten skeleton reinforced copper matrix composites

Rong Li, Wenge Chen*, Kai Zhou, Yuxuan Sun, Zhe Wang, Ahmed Elmarakbi, Yongqing Fu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Copper-tungsten (Cu-W) composites with a copper content larger than 50 vol.% are expected to have a good combination of electrical conductivity and mechanical properties. However, it is difficult to synthesize these types of composites using the conventional manufacturing routes. In this paper, W skeletons with a high porosity up to 80±0.8% and well-aligned microstructures were prepared by directional solidification of aqueous slurries of W followed by ice sublimation and heat treatment. Tungsten reinforced copper matrix composites (e.g., Cu-15 vol.% W composites) were fabricated by infiltration of Cu into the W skeleton structures, and their microstructure, electrical conductivity and mechanical properties were studied. The synthesized Cu-15 vol.% W composites exhibited alternately patterned Cu and W microstructures and showed a good combination of electrical conductivity of 78±2% IACS and hardness of 136±6HV. The strengthening mechanisms of these Cu-15 vol.% W composites were identified as the formation of tungsten network structures which support and strengthen the copper matrix. Residual pores in the W lamellae and weak interfaces of coppertungsten caused the initiation and propagation of cracks, and the fracture mode of Cu15 vol.% W composite was polymerization induced ductile fracture.
Original languageEnglish
Article number170859
JournalJournal of Alloys and Compounds
Early online date5 Jun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jun 2023

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