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High Hardness B a C b -(B x O y /BN) Composites with 3D Mesh-Like Fine Grain-Boundary Structure by Reactive Spark Plasma Sintering

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Boron carbide B4C powders were subject to reactive spark plasma sintering (also known as field assisted sintering, pulsed current sintering or plasma assisted sintering) under nitrogen atmosphere. For an optimum hexagonal BN (h-BN) content estimated from X-ray diffraction measurements at ∼0.4 wt%, the as-prepared B a C b -(B x O y /BN) ceramic shows values of Berkovich and Vickers hardness of 56.7 ± 3.1 GPa and 39.3 ± 7.6 GPa, respectively. These values are higher than for the vacuum SPS processed B4C pristine sample and the h-BN -mechanically-added samples. XRD and electronic microscopy data suggest that in the samples produced by reactive SPS in N2 atmosphere, and containing an estimated amount of 0.3–1.5% h-BN, the crystallite size of the boron carbide grains is decreasing with the increasing amount of N2, while for the newly formed lamellar h-BN the crystallite size is almost constant (∼30–50 nm). BN is located at the grain boundaries between the boron carbide grains and it is wrapped and intercalated by a thin layer of boron oxide. B x O y /BN forms a fine and continuous 3D mesh-like structure that is a possible reason for good mechanical properties.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-02-01

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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