Ni-Al2O3 nacre-like composites through hot-pressing of freeze-cast foams

Maxime J. Garnier, David C. Dunand*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A multi-step process is developed to create a nacre-like ceramic/metal composite. First, a slurry of Ni-coated alumina platelets and NiO nano-particles is directionally freeze-cast and the ice is sublimed, creating a foam with aligned lamellar walls containing the two solid phases. Second, the foam is sintered under hydrogen to reduce the NiO phases to metallic Ni micro-particles. Third, hot pressing densifies both the channels between the aligned walls and some of the porosity within the walls, resulting in a brick-and-mortar composite with partially-aligned alumina platelets and 30 vol% Ni. Evidence of various toughening mechanisms - crack deflection, branching and bridging, as well as metal plasticity - is observed during three-point bending tests of double-edge notched beams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-196
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering A
StatePublished - Jan 16 2019


  • Brick-and-mortar
  • Ceramic/metal composite
  • Double-notched beams
  • Freeze-casting
  • Nacre-like
  • Nickel/alumina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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