W-Cu micro-powder mixtures usually have poor sinterability due to the relatively low solubility of W in both solid and liquid Cu. In fabricating W-Cu composites, an electroless copper plating process is often used to coat Cu on the W particle surface prior to the sintering process. Due to their small size W particles tend to agglomerate during the plating process, hence the individual particle may not be properly coated with Cu. In this study, ultrasonic vibration is applied in the electroless plating process to break up the agglomerations and restrain the powders from gathering, ensuring a uniform deposition of the Cu on individual W particle. W-Cu composite samples containing pure Cu and 6, 9 and 12 wt-% of Cu-coated W particles, respectively, are fabricated using a standard powder metallurgy technique. It is shown that the application of ultrasonic vibration in the activation and deposition steps of the electroless copper plating process prevents W powder agglomeration and ensures that each W particle is coated with Cu. As a result, the mechanical properties of the W-Cu composites are significantly improved. It is found that the optimal tensile strength and yield strength are obtained using a W reinforcement phase content of 9 wt-%.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Metals and Alloys
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering