Functionally graded materials (FGMs) incorporate gradual transitions in their microstructure and/or composition with distance. The gradients provide means to favourably engineer their thermomechanical properties by changing e.g., the local modulus, yield strength, state of residual stress etc. However, prior to optimising such gradients, an understanding of their effect on thermomechanical properties is necessary. WC-Co composites are commonly used as tool bits, where the presence of Co improves the toughness of the wear resistant WC. In this thesis, emphasis has been placed on investigating the thermal residual stresses, hardness, and toughness of functionally graded WC-Co.
The first paper in this thesis reviews existing literature on the subject while introducing FGMs and WC-Co composites. Additional topics addressed include: fabrication of FGMs, mechanical properties of WC-Co and estimates of residual stresses.
In the second paper, X-ray diffraction was used to determine thermal residual stresses that develop in a functionally graded WC-Co composite. The gradient was continuous during a distance of about 40 Jlm below the surface and the stresses were measured in both WC and Co phases at various depths. Due to the difference in coefficient of thermal expansion between the two phases, tensile residual stresses where found in the Co phase and balancing compressive stresses in WC. Pole figures were obtained in order to determine optimal sample orientations that provided adequate intensity for measurements in the Co phase. Microstresses in the graded zone were attributed to the thermal mismatch between WC and the Co phase. The compressive macrostresses were determined to be a result of the compositional gradient.
The third paper reports micro- and nanoindentation experiments to determine hardness as a function of depth in two different WC-Co FGMs. A relationship between hardness and Co phase content was established for the two graded and five homogeneous samples wherein the hardness decreases with increasing Co phase content. For a given Co phase content, no significant differences were observed between the FGMs and homogeneous samples. The measured thermal residual residual stresses did not appear to influence the hardness. Additionally, examination of indents using a Vickers indenter with different loads suggested that larger loads were required to initiate cracks in the FGMs compared to the homogeneous materials. While the investigated WC-Co FGMs did not offer advantages in hardness properties (which seem to be dominated by the local Co content in the graded zone), they appear to offer tribological advantages through increased toughness in terms of crack suppression.
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2001. , 12 p.