Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Arvind Agarwal

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Co-Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Benjamin Boesl

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Co-Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Zhe Cheng

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Boron Nitride Nanotubes, interfacial reactions, Titanium composite, spark plasma sintering, dispersion of BNNT

Date of Defense



In this study, Boron Nitride Nanotube (BNNT) reinforced Titanium matrix composites are synthesized by Spark Plasma Sintering. Two main challenges directly affecting the mechanical performance of BNNT-metal matrix composites are addressed:(i) Homogenous dispersion of high surface energy BNNTs, and (ii) Controlling interfacial reactions at the metal/nanotube interface. High-energy ultrasonication induced dispersion resulted in the functionalization of BNNTs by -OH radicals proving its suitability over surfactant assisted dispersion routes. The sintering of Ti (99% relative density) was achieved at 50% less processing temperature than those used in conventional sintering to minimize interfacial reactions when reinforced with BNNTs. The reduction of temperatures in addition to the reduction (by 91%) in processing times was shown to control reaction phases. Bulk compressive yield strengths of Ti-BNNT sintered at low (750oC) and high (950oC) temperatures were improved by 21% and 50% respectively, as compared to Ti alloy without reinforcement. Twin boundaries, pinning of dislocations by BNNTs, and crack bridging were strengthening mechanisms identified in the composites.





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