The Characterization of TiC and Ti(C,N) Based Cermets with and without Mo2C
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Titanium carbide (TiC) and titanium carbonitride (Ti(C,N)) are both common components in hard, wear resistant ceramic-metal composites, or cermets. In this study the intermetallic nickel aluminide (Ni3Al) has been used as a binder for the production of TiC and Ti(C,N) based cermets. These cermets offer several improved characteristics relative to conventional WC-based ‘hardmetals’, such as lower mass and improved oxidation resistance, which are also combined with high fracture resistance, hardness and wear resistance. The cermets were produced using an in-situ, reaction sintering procedure to form the stoichiometric Ni3Al binder, with the binder contents varied from 20 to 40 vol%. However, for high N content Ti(C,N) cermets, the wettability of molten Ni3Al is relatively poor, which leads to materials with residual porosity. Therefore various amounts of Mo2C (1.25, 2.5, 5 and 10 vol%) were incorporated into the Ti(C0.3,N0.7)-Ni3Al cermets, with the aim of improving the densification behaviour. Mo2C was found to improve upon the wettability during sintering, thus enhancing the densification, especially at the lower binder contents. The tribological behaviour of TiC and Ti(C,N) cermets have been evaluated under reciprocating sliding conditions. The wear tests were conducted using a ball-on-flat sliding geometry, with a WC-Co sphere as the counter-face material, for loads from 20 to 60 N. The wear response was characterised using a combination of scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and focused ion beam microscopy. Initially, two-body abrasive wear was observed to occur, which transitions to three-body abrasion through the generation of debris from the cermet and counter-face materials. Ultimately, this wear debris is incorporated into a thin tribolayer within the wear track, which indicates a further transition to an adhesive wear mechanism. It was found that Mo2C additions had a positive effect on both the hardness and indentation fracture resistance of the samples, but had a detrimental effect on the sliding wear response of the cermets. This behaviour was attributed to increased microstructural inhomogeneity with Mo2C additions.