Synthesis of TiC by controlled ball milling of titanium and carbon
Titanium and carbon powder mixtures with compositions of Ti100−x C x (x = 50, 40, 30) were milled under a helium atmosphere using a magneto ball mill. Controlled ball milling was performed in a higher energy impact mode and a lower energy shearing mode. For Ti50C50 and Ti60C40 powder mixtures milled in impact mode, TiC was formed via a mechanically-induced self-propagating reaction (MSR). When milling Ti70C30 in impact mode, the reaction to form TiC proceeded gradually as milling progressed; indicating that, for milling conditions that lead to the formation of TiC via MSR, a minimum carbon content is required to sustain the self-propagating reaction to form TiC. Milling in shearing mode resulted in the gradual formation of TiC during milling. This study found that increasing the carbon content of the starting powder mixture slowed the milling process. Replacing the activated carbon starting powder with high purity graphite was found to have little effect on the ignition time; indicating that the slowing of the milling process is not due to graphite acting as a lubricant during milling. Rather, this slowing of the milling process is most likely due to an increased carbon content resulting in an increase in the volume of the powder mixture. This would have a similar effect during milling to decreasing the ball:powder weight ratio (BPR), which is known to slow the milling process.