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Title: Metal matrix composites with diamond for abrasion resistance
Author: Alshabbani, Haydar Swiry Rahi
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 4130
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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Metal matrix composites (MMCs) have been used in many applications (such as automotive, aerospace and construction) for many decades. Recently, there have been interesting developments in this type of composite, applying them in electronic and thermal applications such as with semiconductors, in electronic packaging and heat sinks. This is particularly the case for composites of a metal matrix with diamond which are considered a modern sub-class of metal matrix composites. However, while the thermal properties are exceptional, this class of composites has not been extensively examined for mechanical and tribological behaviour, and it may be possible to apply these composites in practical applications, especially those that require extreme mechanical and tribological strength, for example cutting resistance for security applications. Therefore, this research looks for a composite material consisting of metal matrix and diamond particles, which resists abrasive cutting. This progresses through a series of steps, developing methods to process the material, understanding the mechanics of abrasive behaviour and optimizing the composite structure to resist abrasive cutting. Gas Infiltration (GI) casting under gas pressure has been applied to metal matrices with relatively low melting point (aluminium (Al) and tin (Sn)) to obtain a significant penetration of the metal into a preform of diamond particles. Different diamond particle sizes (63-75, 212-250, 420-500 μm) were used to strengthen the Al matrix and diamond coated with a thin Ti layer was used to attempt to enhance the bonding forces between the aluminium matrix and diamond. Al-1 wt. % Mg as a matrix alloy was utilised to investigate the possible effect of Mg on bonding phases and to reduce the surface tension of molten aluminium during the infiltration process. Epoxy was also used as a matrix with diamond in this research by gravity infiltration. Tribological and microstructural tests were performed on the samples, and the results show that the surface modification (Ti coating) of diamond particles has an important role for enhancing the bonding between the aluminium matrix and diamond reinforcement as is apparent under SEM observation, thus improving wear resistance. The coating layer works to either catalyse the graphitisation of diamond surfaces to then dissolve carbon in the metal, or reacts at the diamond surfaces to form carbide crystallites at the interface. This may be one of the reasons contributing to the bonding between the different matrices and diamond. The presence of some of these phases was indicated with XRD patterns and Raman spectra. The principal characterization method was by abrasion cutting tests, which have been carried out on all the samples made. One particle size range, 420-500 μm, of diamond coated by Ti, has been used to manufacture composites with different matrices (titanium (Ti), nickel )Ni(, copper)Cu(, tin)Sn) and epoxy) using different production methods (PM and SPS) for the transition metal matrices due to their high melting points. The abrasion cutting tests of these composites showed that the bonding between the metal matrix and diamond reinforcement and the processing temperature, have an important role in enhancing the abrasion wear resistance of composites, rather than the hardness of matrices.
Supervisor: Goodall, Russell ; B. Marshall, Matthew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available