Characteristic of copper matrix simultaneously reinforced with nano- and micro-sized Al2O3 particles
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The effect of the simultaneous presence of nano- and micro-sized Al2O3 particles on the microstructure and properties of copper matrix was the object of this study. The mixture of inert gas-atomized prealloyed copper powder (with 1 wt.% Al) and 0.6 wt.% commercial Al2O3 powder (serving as micro-sized particles) was used as the starting materials. Strengthening of the copper matrix was performed by treating the powders in the air for up to 20 h in the planetary ball mill. During milling of the prealloyed powder, finely dispersed nano-sized Al2O3 particles were formed in situ by internal oxidation. The approximate size of these particles was between 30 and 60 nm. The highest values of microhardness were reached in compacts processed from 10 h-milled powders. The microhardness of compact obtained from 10 h-milled powder was 3 times higher than the microhardness of compact processed from as-received and non-milled prealloyed powder. At the maximum microhardness the grain size reaches the s...mallest value as a result of the synergetic effect of nano- and micro-sized Al2O3 particles. Recrystallization, which occurred during prolonged milling, was the main factor influencing the decrease in microhardness. The increase in electrical conductivity of compacts after 15 h of milling is the result of the decrease in microhardness and activated recrystallization processes. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.