Abstract: The use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as a reinforcement phase for cast aluminum composites has long been hampered by the non-uniform dispersion and poor wettability of CNTs in molten aluminum. In this work, we report a low cost technique to modify the surface of CNTs by applying an aluminum coat using a novel electroless deposition method based on AlCl3-urea as an ionic liquid and lithium aluminum hydride (LAH) as a reducing agent. TEM and SEM analyses confirmed the deposition of nanostructured aluminum coats on CNTs and showed a significant increase in thickness of the CNTs after depositing the Al coat. The crystal structure of the Al coat was further confirmed by XRD analysis. The Al-coated CNT powder can potentially be used as a reinforcement phase for pure cast aluminum and is expected to overcome the aforementioned challenges of poor dispersion and wettability.
Authors: Mohammed Elsharkawi and Amal Esawi
Keywords: Aluminum electroless plating, Ionic liquids, Colloidal palladium-tin activation, Palladium acceleration