Near zero thermal expansion in metal matrix composites based on intermediate valence systems: Al/SmB6

Serebrennikov, D. A.; Bykov, A. A.; Trigub, A. L.; Kolyshkin, N. A.; Freydman, A. L.; et al. Results In Physics.

This work is focused on the fabrication and characterization of a new type of composite invar materials combining near-zero thermal expansion and functional properties that are important for applications. This is accomplished through the use of particles of SmB6, an intermediate valence system with negative thermal expansion, embedded in Al matrix. The composite based on SmB6-21 vol% was fabricated by hot pressing and was characterized by XRD, optical/electron microscopy, X-ray computed tomography and capacitive dilatometry. The study of thermal expansion revealed that the sample exhibits invar behaviour up to ~60 K with a zero value of the coefficient of thermal expansion near 45 K. In comparison to pure aluminum, the temperature range has increased by about 20 K. A quantitative analysis of dilatometric experimental data performed on the basis of widely used theoretical models showed that the thermal expansion of the Al/SmB6 composite was well reproduced within the Turner model.