Popov, O. and Vishnyakov, Vladimir (2017) Fracture toughness in some hetero-modulus composite carbides: carbon inclusions and voids. Advances in Applied Ceramics. Advances in Applied Ceramics : Structural, Functional and Bioceramics, 116 (2). pp. 61-70. ISSN 1743-6753

Fracture toughness of ceramics in some cases can be significantly improved by the inclusion of low-modulus phase and even voids. Structure and mechanical characteristics of dense ceramic composites synthesised by reactive hot pressing of TiC-B4C powder mixtures at 1800 - 1950°С under 30MPa during 16 minutes are investigated. X-Ray Diffraction, Scanning Electron Microscopy and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (SEM and EDX) have shown that during hot pressing solid phase chemical interaction 2TiС + B4C = 2TiВ2 + 3С has occurred resulting in TiB2-TiC-C, TiB2-C or TiB2-B4C-C hetero-modulus composite formation with approximately 1μm carbon precipitates. The volume of such precipitated carbon can reach 35 vol. %. The fracture toughness depends on the precipitate size and amount of graphite precipitation and has a distinct maximum K1C = 10MPa∙m1/2 at nearly 7 vol. % . Such fracture toughness behaviour is explained by the proposed model of crack propagation and the model-based assessment of hetero-modulus ceramic fracture toughness. It is shown that voids and low modulus carbon inclusions blunt the cracks and can increase ceramic toughness. The later has been demonstrated in the another carbon containing ceramic Cr2AlC, so named MAX phase material, when thin film fracture resistance increases as the ceramic was deposited to be porous.

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