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April 18th, 2011
Functionally graded materials (FGMs) have different material properties, depending on gradual variations in composition and structure over volume. The materials can be designed for specific functions and applications.
Careful selection of the component materials, particularly the reinforcement, is required to reliably achieve a high performance from FGM. Because of its excellent mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are promising as reinforcement materials towards fabricating high-quality FGMs.
Since their discovery in 1991, extensive research on the fabrication and characterization of CNT-reinforced polymer, ceramic, and metal-matrix composites has been carried out. However, CNT gradient layer-reinforced FGMs have rarely been examined, and investigations based mostly on numerical calculations or models.
In a recently conducted study, Dr. H. Kwon, Dr. C. R. Bradbury, and Dr. M. Leparoux fabricated functionally graded composite bulk materials with a CNT-reinforced metal matrix. They used a powder metallurgy route and characterized these composites at Empa, an interdisciplinary research and services institution for material sciences and technology development in Switzerland.
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