Nanocrystalline nickel-graphene nanoplatelets composite: Superior mechanical properties and mechanics of properties enhancement at the atomistic level

F Yazdandoost and AY Boroujeni and R Mirzaeifar, PHYSICAL REVIEW MATERIALS, 1, 076001 (2017).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.1.076001

A relatively easy-to-fabricate nanolayered metal composite with superior mechanical properties is introduced. The matrix is a nanocrystalline nickel in which the grain size is engineered to optimize the strength, and monolayer particles of graphene are embedded into the matrix as reinforcing interlayers. Atomistic-scale deformation mechanisms, and mechanics of hindering the dislocations propagation by graphene nanoplatelets with different configurations in the nanocrystalline metallic matrix, are investigated by molecular dynamics simulations. Molecular dynamics findings are utilized to engineer the nanostructure of a metal matrix composite. Nanocrystalline nickel-graphene nanolayered systems with optimum mechanical properties are identified and fabricated with a cost-efficient method. The nanostructure of the fabricated composites is examined via electron microscopy, and their mechanical performance is inspected via nanoindentation tests. The experimental results show that a nickel-graphene nanolayered system with 14% areal coverage of graphene particles at the interlayers has improved the hardness of the nanocrystalline nickel by almost 40%.

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