Research Papers: Micro-Nano Tribology

Tribological Investigation of Multilayer Graphene Reinforced Alumina Ceramic Nanocomposites

[+] Author and Article Information
Iftikhar Ahmad

Center of Excellence for Research
in Engineering Materials,
Deanship of Scientific Research,
King Saud University,
P.O. Box 800,
Riyadh 11421, Saudi Arabia
e-mail: ifahmad@ksu.edu.sa

Saqib Anwar

Industrial Engineering Department,
College of Engineering,
King Saud University,
Riyadh 11421, Saudi Arabia

Fang Xu

Department of Mechanical,
Materials and Manufacturing Engineering,
The University of Nottingham,
Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK

Yanqiu Zhu

College of Engineering,
Mathematics and Physical Sciences,
University of Exeter,
Exeter EX4 4QF, UK

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Tribology Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF TRIBOLOGY. Manuscript received February 20, 2018; final manuscript received August 16, 2018; published online October 16, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Sinan Muftu.

J. Tribol 141(2), 022002 (Oct 16, 2018) (11 pages) Paper No: TRIB-18-1079; doi: 10.1115/1.4041303 History: Received February 20, 2018; Revised August 16, 2018

We investigated the wear resistance properties of high-frequency induction heat (HFIH) sintered alumina (Al2O3) ceramic nanocomposites containing various multilayer graphene (MLG) concentrations. The tribology of the monolithic Al2O3 and nanocomposites samples was assessed against spherical ceramic (Si3N4) counter sliding partner at sliding loads ranging from 6 to 40 N using ball-on-disk wear test configuration. Compared with the monolithic Al2O3, the incorporation of 1.0 vol % MLG reduced the friction coefficient by 25% and the wear rate by 65% in the MLG/Al2O3 nanocomposites tested under 40 N sliding load. Based on the mechanical properties, brittle index, and microstructure, the active wear mechanisms for the nanocomposites were analyzed. The MLG contributed in the nanocomposites tribology process, indirectly, by enhancing the mechanical properties and, directly, by reducing the friction between the counter sliding partners. The synergistic role of MLG thin triboflim and twirled MLG for improving the tribological performance of the nanocomposites is discussed.

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Fig. 1

(a) SEM image of the MLGs showing 2D morphology, (b) elemental analysis of the MLGs, (c) bright-field TEM image of the MLGs, (d) HRTEM image of a MLG cross section shows multilayered structure, and (e) X-ray diffraction profile of (i) monolithic Al2O3, (ii) A0.5MLG nanocomposite, and (iii) A1MLG nanocomposite

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Fig. 2

Fractured surface SEM images of (a) monolithic Al2O3, (b) MLG/Al2O3 nanocomposites, (c) cross section bright-field TEM image of the MLG/Al2O3 nanocomposites, (d) lattice resolved HRTEM image of MLG/Al2O3 nanocomposites representing interfacial contacts, (e) TEM images of nanocomposite etched with NaOH shows MLGs and Al2O3 residual particles, and (f) HRTEM image of a MLG segment recovered from nanocomposite

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Fig. 3

Effect of MLG contents on the (a) weight loss, (b) coefficient of friction, (c) brittleness index, and (d) experimental and theoretically calculated wear rate ratios determined at corresponding sliding loads

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Fig. 4

SEM micrographs of the wear tracks of the (a) monolithic Al2O3 and (b) MLG-reinforced Al2O3 nanocomposite

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Fig. 5

SEM micrographs of the worn surfaces of the monolithic Al2O3 tested at sliding loads of (a) 20 N, (b) 40 N, SEM images of the A1MLG nanocomposite worn surfaces after testing at sliding loads of (c) 20 N, (d) 40 N, SEM analysis of the debris picked from the worn surfaces of the (e) monolithic Al2O3 and (f) A1MLG nanocomposite tested at 40 N sliding loads

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Fig. 6

SEM images of wear scars on the Si3N4 ball surfaces produced against (a) A1MLG nanocomposites, (b) monolithic Al2O3, (c) high magnification SEM image of the transfer layer, and (d) elemental analysis of the transfer film found on Si3N4 ball surface

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Fig. 7

SEM micrographs of the crack bridging phenomenon in the nanocomposites worn surfaces after wear testing at sliding loads of ((a) and (b)) 20 N and ((c) and (d)) 40 N

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Fig. 8

SEM micrographs of the worn surfaces of the nanocomposites showing (a) the presence of numerous reclined MLGs-white circles, (b) protruded MLGs, (c) a detached MLG segment on the worn surface, and (d) elemental analysis of the detached MLG segment

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Fig. 9

(a) SEM images of the MLG debris picked from the nanocomposite worn surfaces tested at 40 N sliding load show (a) a thin 2D MLG segment, (b) 1D twirled MLG morphology, (c) an individual twirled MLG, and (d) TEM image depicts the 1D twirled MLG formation from 2D sheet morphology, the rolling of a MLG edges is clearly visible



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