Research Papers

Scalable Manufacturing of AgCu40(wt %)–WC Nanocomposite Microwires

[+] Author and Article Information
Zeyi Guan

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace
University of California, Los Angeles,
Los Angeles, CA 90095
e-mail: guanzeyi@g.ucla.edu

Injoo Hwang

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace
University of California, Los Angeles,
Los Angeles, CA 90095
e-mail: injoo2012@g.ucla.edu

Shuaihang Pan

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace
University of California, Los Angeles,
Los Angeles, CA 90095
e-mail: luckypsh@g.ucla.edu

Xiaochun Li

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace
University of California, Los Angeles,
Los Angeles, CA 90095
e-mail: xcli@seas.ucla.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MICRO-AND NANO-MANUFACTURING. Manuscript received October 11, 2017; final manuscript received June 2, 2018; published online July 5, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Ulf Engel.

J. Micro Nano-Manuf 6(3), 031008 (Jul 05, 2018) (6 pages) Paper No: JMNM-17-1061; doi: 10.1115/1.4040558 History: Received October 11, 2017; Revised June 02, 2018

Nanoparticle reinforced metals recently emerge as a new class of materials to empower the functionality of metallic materials. There is a remarkable success in self-incorporation of nanoparticles to bulk metals for extraordinary properties. There is also a strong demand to use nanoparticles to enhance the performance of metallic microwires for exciting opportunities in numerous applications. Here, we show for the first time that silver–copper alloy (AgCu) reinforced by tungsten carbide (WC) (AgCu40 (wt %)–WC) was manufactured by a stir casting method utilizing a nanoparticle self-dispersion mechanism. The nanocomposite microwires were successfully fabricated using thermal drawing method. By introducing WC nanoparticles into bulk AgCu40 alloy, the Vickers microhardness was enhanced by 63% with 22 vol % WC nanoparticles, while the electrical conductivity dropped to 20.1% International Annealed Copper Standard (IACS). The microwires of AgCu40–10 vol % WC offered an ultimate tensile strength of 354 MPa, an enhancement of 74% from the pure alloy, and an elongation of 5.2%. The scalable manufacturing method provides a new pathway for the production of metallic nanocomposite micro/nanowires with outstanding performance for widespread applications, e.g., in biomedical, brazing, and electronics industries.

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Fig. 1

Schematic drawings of (a) the nanocomposite incorporation process using stir casting and (b) the thermal fiber drawing process. (c) illustrates the schematic that the metallic wire with glass cladding shrinks to a smaller size during the thermal fiber drawing.

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Fig. 2

Microstructure analysis of AgCu40–WC nanocomposite. ((a), (b), (d), and (e)) showed the SEM images of WC nanoparticle self-dispersion in metal matrix for nanocomposite bulk samples of 10 vol % WC ((a) and (b)) and 22 vol % WC ((d) and (e)). ((c) and (f)) are the image intensities of ((a) and (d)), where 22 vol % sample, with smaller standard deviation, obtains better nanoparticle dispersion. (h) showed the overlay image after image processing by ImageJ for WC nanoparticle size distribution analysis (g). ((i) and (j)) showed the grain structure analysis between pure alloy sample and nanocomposite sample.

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Fig. 3

(a) Microhardness versus nanoparticle concentration in volume percent. (b) Electrical conductivity versus nanoparticle conecntration in volume percent.

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Fig. 4

Microclusters of dense dispersed nanoparticle distribution after subsequent drawings. Corresponding nanocomposite microwires have diameters of 200 μm ((a) and (b)), 60 μm (c), and 5 μm (d).

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Fig. 5

The result of tensile testing of nanocomposite microwires (AgCu40–10 vol % WC) and AgCu40 microwires



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