The effect of boron on the hardness and fracture toughness of WC-FeAl-B and WC-Ni3Al-B composites
The hardness and indentation fracture toughness of sub micron WC composites based on aluminide and cobalt binders were investigated. Doped Fe60Al40 and Ni3Al alloys with boron levels ranging from 0 to 0.1 wt%, were used as the aluminide binders. The composite materials were processed by uniaxial hot pressing of milled powder samples at 1500 ºC under argon atmosphere. The hardness of WC-40vol%(FeAl-B) was found to be higher than that of WC-40vol%(Ni3Al-B), and it approached to the hardness level of the commercial grade of WC-10wt%Co (H10F). The fracture toughness of both WC-40vol%(FeAl-B) and WC-40vol%(Ni3Al-B) cermets was higher than that of WC-40vol%Co and the toughness increased with increasing boron content. It is believed that boron addition to the aluminide binders leads to improvement in the fracture toughness of the intermetallic matrix composites as a result of increase in the ductility and toughness of the aluminides and also due to increase in WC solubility in the aluminide binders in presence of boron.