Mechanisms of plastic deformation and wear in cemented carbides and cermets

SEM picture illustrating the morphology of a TiWCN-Co cermet (K. Buss)Our group has been involved in the study of mechanical properties of hardmetals for almost 20 years becoming a recognized center of competence. The aim of this research is to understand the deformation processes leading to cutting tool wear and failure during machining. The analysis of high temperature deformation tend to demonstrate that in all cemented carbides based on WC or TiCN hard phase three behavior domains can be observed as a function of temperature:

1) Brittle where both the metal and ceramic phase are not deformable

2) Tough where the metal phase (cobalt or nickel) starts to deform. As this phase generally constitutes a small fraction of the hardmetal, the overall deformation remains negligible since the cermaic skeleton only deforms elastically

3) Creep where the ceramic skeleton deforms by grain boundary sliding

At present we focus our attention on the grain boundary sliding mechanism occurring in ceramic-metal composites. Grain boundary sliding is determined by the wetting of the ceramic (WC or TiCN) by the metal binder (cobalt) and it is characterised by an internal friction peak.

Collaborations with major industries in the field have been established in particular with the company Sandvik AB, Stockholm, the major world producer of cutting tools. Colaborations are also established with Prof. Andrén ans Prof. Wahnström at Chalmers University Göteborg and and with the Los Alamos Natl. Lab. for the measurement of residual stress by neutron diffraction.

Several PhD thesis work have been dedicated in our group to these research:

J.J. Amman, PhD Thesis n. 861 (1990), D. Mari PhD Thesis n. 938 (1991), T. Viatte PhD Thesis n. 1371 (1995), G. Feusier PhD Thesis n. 1659 (1997), S. Bolognini PhD Thesis n. 2161 (2000), K. Buss PhD Thesis n. 3095 (2004)

Publications (2000-2009)
Mari D, Clausen B, Bourke M A M, Buss K, Measurement of residual thermal stress in WC-Co by neutron diffraction. Int. J. Refr. Metals Hard Mater., 27, (2009) 282-287

L. Llanes, D. Mari, V.K. Sarin,  « Science of Hard Materials 7 », Elsevier Science, 2005.

D. Mari, S. Bolognini, T. Viatte and W. Benoit, Study of the mechanical properties of TiCN-WC-Co hardmetals by the interpretation of internal friction spectra, Int. J. Refract. Metals Hard Mater., 19, 257-265 (2001).

S. Bolognini, D. Mari, T. Viatte and W. Benoit, Fracture Toughness of Coated WC-TiCN-Co Cermets with Graded Composition, Int. J. Refract. Metals Hard Mater. 19, 285-292 (2001).

D. Mari, Cermets and Hardmetals, in Encyclopedia of Materials: Science and Technology, Elsevier Science, Amsterdam (2001) 1118-1123.

D. Gonseth, D. Mari, P. Bowen, C.P. Carry, P. Streit and R. Mulone, High toughness ceramic/metal composite and process for making the same. EP Patent 651067 B1 (2000).