Skip to main content Accessibility help

Microstructural Changes in Copper–Graphite–Alumina Nanocomposites Produced by Mechanical Alloying

  • Ivan Rodrigues (a1), Mafalda Guedes (a2) (a3) and Alberto C. Ferro (a4) (a3)


Microstructural features of nanostructured copper-matrix composites produced via high-energy milling were studied. Copper–graphite–alumina batches were planetary ball milled up to 16 h; copper–graphite batches were also prepared under the same conditions to evaluate the effect of contamination from the milling media. The microstructure of the produced materials was characterized by field emission gun scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive spectroscopy and related to Raman, X-ray diffraction, and particle size analysis results. Results showed that alumina was present in all milled powders. However, size reduction was effective at shorter times in the copper–graphite–alumina system. In both cases the produced powders were nanostructured, containing graphite and alumina nanoparticles homogeneously distributed in the copper matrix, especially for longer milling times and in the presence of added alumina. Copper crystallite size was significantly affected above 4 h milling; nanographite size decreased and incipient amorphization occurred. A minimum size of 15 nm was obtained for the copper crystallite copper–alumina–graphite composite powders, corresponding to 16 h of milling. Contamination from the media became more significant above 8 h. Results suggest that efficient dispersion and bonding of graphite and alumina nanoparticles in the copper matrix is achieved, envisioning high conductivity, high strength, and thermal stability.


Corresponding author

* Corresponding authors.


Hide All
Braunovic, M., Myshkin, N. & Konchits, V. (2010). Electrical Contacts: Fundamentals, Applications and Technology. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press.
Doelling, C.M., Vanderlicka, T.K., Song, J. & Srolovitz, D. (2007). Nanospot welding and contact evolution during cycling of a model microswitch. J Appl Phys 101, 124303/1124303/7.
Esezobor, D. & Oladoye, A. (2011). Improvement on the tribological characteristics of particulate copper silicon carbide composites. In Proceedings of the EPD Congress 2011, Monteiro, S.N., Verhustl, D.E., Anyalebechi, P.N. & Pomykala, J.A. (Eds.), pp. 827834. Warrendale: The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.
Everhart, J.L. (1979). Copper and copper alloy powder metallurgy properties and applications. In Source Book on Copper and Copper Alloys: A Comprehensive Collection of Outstanding Articles from the Periodical and Reference Literature , pp. 129136. Metals Park, Ohio: ASM.
Fogagnolo, J.B., Velasco, F., Robert, M.H. & Torralba, J.M. (2003). Effect of mechanical alloying on the morphology, microstructure and properties of aluminium matrix composite powders. Mater Sci Eng A 342, 131143.
Hussain, Z. & Kit, L.C. (2008). Properties and spot welding behaviour of copper–alumina composites through ball milling and mechanical alloying. Mater Design 29, 13111315.
Lee, D.W., Ha, G.H. & Kim, B.K. (2001). Synthesis of Cu-Al2O3 nanocomposite powder. Scripta Mater 44, 21372140.
López, G.A. & Mittemeijer, E.J. (2004). The solubility of C in solid Cu. Scripta Mater 51, 15.
Marques, M.T., Correia, J.B. & Conde, O. (2004). Carbon solubility in nanostructured copper. Scripta Mater 50, 963967.
Merad, L., Cochez, V., Margueron, S., Jauchem, F. & Ferriol, M. (2009). In-situ monitoring of the curing of epoxy resins by Raman spectroscopy. Polym Test 28, 4245.
Nickchi, T., Ghorbani, M., Alfantazi, A. & Farhat, Z. (2011). Fabrication of low friction bronze–graphite nano-composite coatings. Mater Design 32, 35483553.
Niwase, K., Tanaka, T., Kakimoto, Y., Ishihara, K.N. & Shingu, P.H. (1995). Raman spectra of graphite and diamond mechanically milled with agate or stainless steel mall-mill. Mater Trans 36, 282288.
Nunes, D., Livramento, V., Correia, J.B., Hanada, K., Carvalho, P.A., Mateus, R., Shohoji, N., Fernandes, H., Silva, C., Alves, E. & Osawa, E. (2010). Consolidation of Cu-nD nanocomposites; hot extrusion vs spark plasma sintering. Mater Sci Forum 636–637, 682687.
Nunes, D., Livramento, V., Mateus, R., Correia, J.B., Alves, L.C., Vilarigues, M. & Carvalho, P.A. (2011). Mechanical synthesis of copper–carbon nanocomposites: Structural changes, strengthening and thermal stabilization. Mater Sci Eng A 528, 86108620.
Rajkovic, V., Bozic, D., Devecerski, A. & Jovanovic, M.T. (2012). Characteristic of copper matrix simultaneously reinforced with nano- and micro-sized Al2O3 particles. Mater Charact 67, 129137.
Rajković, V., Božić, D. & Jovanović, M. (2007). Characteristics of copper and copper-Al2O3 composites prepared by high-energy milling. Metalurgija 46, 309316.
Rajković, V., Erić, O. & Božić, D. (2004). Characterization of dispersion strengthened copper with 3wt% Al2O3 by mechanical alloying. Sci Sinter 36, 205211.
Rajkumar, K. & Aravindan, S. (2013). Tribological behavior of microwave processed copper–nanographite composites. Tribol Int 57, 282296.
Rietsch, J.-C., Gadiou, R.C., Vix-Guterl, C. & Dentzer, J. (2010). The influence of the composition of atmosphere on the mechanisms of degradation of graphite in planetary ball millers. J Alloys Compd 491, L15L19.
Robles-Hernández, F.C. & Calderon, H.A. (2012). Nanostructured Al/Al4C3 composites reinforced with graphite or fullerene and manufactured by mechanical milling and spark plasma sintering. Mater Chem Phys 132, 815822.
Shen, T.D., Ge, W.Q., Wang, K.Y., Quan, M.X., Wang, J.T., Wei, W.D. & Koch, C.C. (1996). Structural disorder and phase transformation in graphite produced by ball milling. Nanostruct Mater 7, 393399.
Suryanarayana, C. (2001). Mechanical alloying and milling. Prog Mater Sci 46, 1184.
Suryanarayana, C. & Al-Aqeeli, N. (2013). Mechanically alloyed nanocomposites. Prog Mater Sci 58, 383502.
Tao, Z., Guoa, Q., Gaoa, X. & Liua, L. (2011). The wettability and interface thermal resistance of copper/graphite system with an addition of chromium. Mater Chem Phys 128, 228232.
Tjong, S.C. (2007). Novel nanoparticle-reinforced metal matrix composites with enhanced mechanical properties. Adv Eng Mater 9, 639652.
Tuinstra, F. & Koenig, J.L. (1970). Raman spectrum of graphite. J Chem Phys 53, 11261129.
Waseda, Y., Matsubara, E. & Shinoda, K. (2011). X-Ray Diffraction Crystallography. Berlin, Germany: Springer.
Welham, N. J., Berbenni, V. & Chapman, P. G. (2003). Effect of extended ball milling on graphite. J. Alloys Compd 349, 255263.
Zawrah, M.F., Zayed, H., Essawy, R., Nassar, A.H. & Taha, M. (2013). Preparation by mechanical alloying, characterization and sintering of Cu–20wt.% Al2O3 nanocomposites. Mater Design 46, 485490.
Zhan, Y. & Zhang, G. (2003). Graphite and SiC hybrid particles reinforced copper composite and its tribological characteristic. J Mater Sci Lett 22, 10871089.
Zhan, Y. & Zhang, G. (2004). Friction and wear behavior of copper matrix composites reinforced with SiC and graphite particles. Tribol Lett 17, 9198.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Microstructural Changes in Copper–Graphite–Alumina Nanocomposites Produced by Mechanical Alloying

  • Ivan Rodrigues (a1), Mafalda Guedes (a2) (a3) and Alberto C. Ferro (a4) (a3)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.