Dynamic consolidation of superhard materials
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 31 January 2011
Shock consolidation experiments were conducted via flyer impact on synthetic diamond (6–12 μm) and cubic boron nitride (c-BN) (4–8 μm) admixed with SiC whisker (SCW), Si3N4 whisker (SNW), SiC powder, and Si powder contained in stainless steel capsules under the shock pressure range of 10–30 GPa. Scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy imaging of the samples revealed no plastic deformation or melting of diamond and virtually no deformation of c-BN, whereas the SCW and SNW were extensively melted and recrystallized into bundle-shaped crystallites. In contrast, SiC powder mixed with diamond was also melted but demonstrated equant grain growth. A new method to calculate the shock temperature and melt fraction is formulated on the basis of Milewski's sphere-rod packing data. The new method assigns excess bulk volume to the zone around whiskers and yields a better description of the energy deposition mechanism of the consolidation of powder-whisker systems. Some of the experiments employed Sawaoka's post-shock annealing technique, in which the sample is sandwiched between two layers of a mixture of titanium powder plus carbon. Very well consolidated samples were obtained with post-shock heating under shock pressures of only about 11 GPa. Micro-Vickers hardness values up to 27 GPa were obtained for c-BN plus SCW at a low impact velocity of 1.45 km/s with post-shock heating. This hardness is similar to that obtained at a higher impact velocity of 1.95 km/s without post-shock heating. To understand the post-shock heating process, one-dimensional time dependent temperature profile calculations were conducted for the sample and Ti + C layers. Post-shock heating appears to be very important in the consolidation of powder and whisker admixture. The calculated optimum Ti + C thickness is about 0.8–1.7 mm at a porosity of 40% for a typical sample thickness of 2 mm. The heating and cooling time is a few milliseconds. Good compacts with micro-Vickers hardness values up to 28 GPa were also obtained upon shock consolidation of diamond plus Si admixtures.
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