Physicomechanical properties of spark plasma sintered carbon nanotube-containing ceramic matrix nanocomposites
Recently, a wide variety of research works have focused on carbon nanotube (CNT)–ceramic matrix nanocomposites. In many cases, these novel materials are produced through conventional powder metallurgy methods including hot pressing, conventional sintering, and hot isostatic pressing. However, spark plasma sintering (SPS) as a novel and efficient consolidation technique is exploited for the full densification of high-temperature ceramic systems. In these binary nanocomposites, CNTs are added to ceramic matrices to noticeably modify their inferior properties and SPS is employed to produce fully dense compacts. In this review, a broad overview of these systems is provided and the potential influences of CNTs on their functional and structural properties are addressed. The technical challenges are then mentioned and the ongoing debates over overcoming these drawbacks are fully highlighted. The structural classification used is material-oriented. It helps the readers to easily find the material systems of interest. The SPSed CNT-containing ceramic matrix nanocomposites are generally categorized into four main classes: CNT–oxide systems; CNT–nitride systems, CNT–carbide systems, and CNT–boride systems. A large number of original curves and bubble maps are provided to fully summarize the experimental results reported in the literature. They pave the way for obviously selecting the ceramic systems required for each industrial application. The properties in consideration include the relative density, hardness, yield strength, fracture toughness, electrical and thermal conductivities, modulus, and flexural strength. These unique graphs facilitate the comparison between reported results and help the reader to easily distinguish the best method for producing the ceramic systems of interest and the optimal conditions under which the superior properties can be reached. The authors have concentrated on the microstructure evolution–physicomechanical property relationship and tried to relate each property to pertinent microstructural phenomena and address why the properties are degraded or enhanced with the variation of SPS conditions or material parameters.
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