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Effect of a Rising R‐Curve on the Sliding Wear of Silicon‐Disilicide In Situ Composites

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This study investigates the tribological behavior of a new class of silicon‐disilicide (Si‐(Cr,V)Si2) in situ composites which display eutectic microstructures comprising a Si matrix and reinforcing (Cr,V)Si2 disilicide phase. Dry, room temperature ball‐on‐disk tests carried out at various loads (W = 1–6 N) showed that the specific wear rates of the Si‐(Cr,V)Si2 composites (k a ≈10−5 mm3/Nm) were about an order of magnitude lower than that of unalloyed Si (k a ≈10−4 mm3/Nm) in the wear regime dominated by lateral cracking. Microscopic analysis of the wear tracks, as well as observations from indentation experiments, revealed that the improved wear resistance of the Si‐(Cr,V)Si2 composites at higher loads was due to the activation of crack deflection and bridging toughening mechanisms during the wear process, which results in a rise in the apparent composite fracture toughness with increasing crack size (i.e., a rising R‐curve behavior). Analysis of the wear test data in the context of a lateral fracture wear model demonstrates that the enhanced short‐crack response of the Si‐(Cr,V)Si2 composites during sliding wear can indeed be explained by the incorporation of a sharply rising R‐curve relation for the composite fracture toughness.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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