Self-lubricating composites are designed to obtain materials that reduce energy consumption, improve heat dissipation between moving bodies, and eliminate the need for external lubricants. The use of a solid lubricant in bulk composite material always involves a significant reduction in its mechanical properties, which is usually not an optimal solution. The growing interest in multilayer graphene (MLG), characterised by interesting properties as a component of composites, encouraged the authors to use it as an alternative solid lubricant in aluminium matrix composites instead of graphite. Aluminium alloy 6061 matrix composite reinforced with 2-15 vol % of MLG were synthesised by the spark plasma sintering process (SPS) and its modification, spark plasma texturing (SPT), involving deformation of the pre-sintered body in a larger diameter matrix. It was found that the application of the SPT method improves the density and hardness of the composites, resulting in improved tribological properties, particularly in the higher load regime.
Keywords: SPS sintering; aluminium matrix composites; multilayer graphene; tribological properties.