It is well known that abrasive wear resistance is not strictly a materials property, but also depends upon the specific conditions of the wear environment. Nonetheless, characteristics of the ceramic microstructure do influence its hardness and fracture toughness and must, therefore, play an active role in determining how a ceramic will respond to the specific stress states imposed upon it by the wear environment. In this study, the ways in which composition and microstructure influence the abrasive wear behavior of six commercially-produced silicon nitride based ceramics are examined. Results indicate that microstructural parameters, such as matrix grain size and orientation, porosity, and grain boundary microstructure, and thermal expansion mismatch stresses created as the result of second phase formation, influence the wear rate through their effect on wear sheet formation and subsurface fracture. It is also noted that the potential impact of these variables on the wear rate may not be reflected in conventional fracture toughness measurements.
Wear – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2001
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