Copper alloys with improved properties: standard ingot metallurgy vs. powder metallurgy
Three copper-based alloys: two composites reinforced with Al2O3 particles and processed through powder metallurgy (P/M) route, i.e. by internal oxidation (Cu-2.5Al composite) and by mechanical alloying (Cu-4.7Al2O3 ) and Cu-0.4Cr-0.08Zr alloy produced by ingot metallurgy (vacuum melting and casting) were the object of this investigation. Light microscope and scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped with electron X-ray spectrometer (EDS) were used for microstructural characterization. Microhardness and electrical conductivity were also measured. Compared to composite materials, Cu-0.4Cr-0.08Zr alloy possesses highest electrical conductivity in the range from 20 to 800 ℃, whereas the lowest conductivity shows composite Cu-2.5Al processed by internal oxidation. In spite to somewhat lower electrical conductivity (probably due to inadequate density), Cu-2.5Al composite exhibits thermal stability enabling its application at much higher temperatures than materials processed by mechanical alloying or by vacuum melting and casting.
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