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In-situ metal binder-phase formation to make WC-FeNi Cermets with spark plasma sintering from WC, Fe, Ni, and carbon powders...

by Corson L Cramer, Alexander Preston, Kaka Ma, Peeyush Nandwana
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International Journal of Refractory Metals and Hard Materials
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High-density WC-FeNi ceramic-metal (cermet) composites were fabricated using liquid-phase spark plasma sintering/field-assisted sintering technology (SPS/FAST) with in-situ formation of metal binder phase. The precursor materials were micron-sized powders of WC, Fe, Ni, and C. A low melting point from a eutectic reaction of the powders enabled the in-situ formation of FeNi alloy and facilitates liquid-phase sintering of the WC. The carbon powder was added to stabilize the formation of the binder phase. Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) was performed to measure grain size and orientation. The composite exhibited a 99% theoretical density and a microstructure consisting of rounded and contiguous WC grains. The average grain size is 10.5 μm. The composite has a maximum hardness of 16.1 GPa. This research provides a fast and cost-effective approach to fabricate hard metals.