Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Norman Munroe

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Arvind Agarwal

Third Advisor's Name

Wonbon Choi

Date of Defense



There is great demand for contact materials with superior electrical and thermal conductivities and mechanical strength, for use in Vacuum Circuit Breakers (VCB). Copper (Cu) and chromium (Cr) alloy, developed in the 1970’s [1] has been the most common contact material in VCBs. Although Cu-Cr alloys possess good conductivity and mechanical properties, 50% of Cr (a strategic metal) in the alloy is resource prohibitive. A reduction in Cr usage without compromising desired properties is desirable.

Previous researchers focused on developing Cu-Cr alloys with fine and uniform microstructure to enhance their physical properties. This investigation focused on the development of a Cu-Cr-MWCNT (Multi walled Carbon Nanotubes) composite with enhanced properties as compared with currently used materials. The electrical conductivity of the composite increased up to 18 times that of Cu and there was also an increase in the Vicker’s hardness.





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