Metal and ceramic matrix composites have been developed to enhance the stiffness and strength of metals and alloys, and improve the toughness of monolithic ceramics, respectively. It is possible to further improve their properties by using nanoreinforcement, which led to the development of metal and ceramic matrix nanocomposites, in which case, the dimension of the reinforcement is on the order of nanometer, typically less than 100 nm. However, in many cases, the properties measured experimentally remain far from those estimated theoretically. This is mainly due to the fact that the properties of nanocomposites depend not only on the properties of the individual constituents, i.e., the matrix and reinforcement as well as the interface between them, but also on the extent of nanoreinforcement dispersion. Therefore, obtaining a uniform dispersion of the nanoreinforcement in the matrix remains a key issue in the development of nanocomposites with the desired properties. The issue of nanoreinforcement dispersion was not fully addressed in review papers dedicated to processing, characterization, and properties of inorganic nanocomposites. In addition, characterization of nanoparticles dispersion, reported in literature, remains largely qualitative. The objective of this review is to provide a comprehensive description of characterization techniques used to evaluate the extent of nanoreinforcement dispersion in inorganic nanocomposites and critically review published work. Moreover, methodologies and techniques used to characterize reinforcement dispersion in conventional composites, which may be used for quantitative characterization of nanoreinforcement dispersion in nanocomposites, is also presented.
- Qualitative characterization
- Quantitative characterization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Materials Science