2021 journal article
Laser Spot Welding and Electric Contact Points Using Copper/Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Nanocomposite Synthesized by Laser Surface Implanting
JOURNAL OF COMPOSITES SCIENCE, 5(3).
In our previous studies, we have developed a wet process, denoted as laser surface implanting (LSI), to synthesize a copper/single-walled carbon nanotube (Cu–SWCNT) metal nanocomposite. The nanostructure of this Cu–SWCNT composite was shown to contain discernable SWCNT clusters in nanosizes inside the copper matrix. Its hardness could achieve up to three times that of pure copper, verified by micro-hardness and nano-hardness tests. A focus ion beam bombardment test and a plane strain compression test show 2.5 times toughness improvement for the Cu-SWCNT composite. Based on these strength improvements, two potential applications for the Cu-SWCNT nanocomposite are proposed and their feasibilities are verified using specially design test rigs. The first application is related to creating long lasting electric contacts. The result shows that the Cu-SWCNT nanocomposite is highly wear-resistant. The contact area of the simulated electric contacts increases after repeated impact loading, which potentially could lower the contact resistance. The second application is to use the Cu-SWCNT implants as high strength spot weld for joining copper foils. A smaller weld with a higher strength reduces the power requirement of the laser and, consequently, the thermal distortion for higher-dimensional precision. The specially designed test rig for the weld strength characterization is a new contribution, providing a new testing capability for small and non-homogeneous samples not suitable for a standard tensile test machine.