The effects of properties, microstructure and phase transformation on the erosion of hard materials

Master Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

A variety of ceramic and ultrahard materials have been subjected to both solid particle and cavitation erosion. The materials tested include three grain sizes of alumina, stabilised zirconias, sialon, cubic boron nitride and polycrystalline diamond, and these have a range of microstructural, physical and mechanical properties. The damage modes are described for the two types of erosion and the results are critically discussed. It has been shown that different properties and microstructural features control the respective types of erosion. Hardness is the critical property which controls material loss during solid particle erosion. Cavitation erosion in contrast is less sensitive to hardness, but is extremely defect sensitive and preferentially attacks weak or damaged regions on the target. Grain size and shape, and th.e properties of the grain boundary or intergranular phase exert a strong influence on both types of erosion. It has in addition been concluded, that a propensity for a stress induced phase transformation, such as that exhibited by stabilised zirconia, will benefit the resistance of a ceramic to erosion. Ultrahard materials generally outperform the structural ceramics that were tested. While it was not possible to ascertain the effects of grain size conclusively, a large extent of intergrowth between the crystallites during manufacture appears to be beneficial to erosion resistance.

BaBibliography: pages 88-92.