Journal of alloys and compounds vol:430 issue:1-2 pages:158-164
NbC-24.5 wt.% Co cermets with up to 30 wt.% WC were obtained by solid state hot pressing at 1300 degrees C under a pressure of 45 MPa for 10 min and pressureless liquid phase sintering at 1360 degrees C for 60 min. The effect of WC addition on the microstructure and mechanical properties of NbC-Co based cermets was investigated. The hot pressed cermets exhibited interconnected and irregular niobium carbide (NbC) or (Nb,W)C grains, whereas the shape of the NbC grains changed from faceted with rounded corners to spherical, as the WC content increased in the pressureless sintered cermets. The undissolved WC increased with increasing WC addition. A clear core/rim structure was observed in the hot pressed cermets with 10-30 wt.% WC additions, whereas this structure was gradually eliminated when pressureless sintering. The hardness remains nearly constant whereas the fracture toughness slightly increases with increasing WC addition. The dissolution of WC in the Co binder and NbC grains, as well as the formation of a solid solution (Nb,W)C phase were supported by thermodynamic calculations. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.