The temperature dependence of microhardness of the transition-metal carbides

D. L. Kohlstedt

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63 Scopus citations


Microhardness as a function of temperature has been measured for single crystals of TiC0.96, ZrC0.94, and NbC0.87 from room temperature through their ductile-brittle transitions and for single crystals of V6C5 through the order-disorder transition. The present data confirm the result observed for polycrystalline specimens that for T<0.5 Tm, the decrease in hardness with increasing temperature for the carbides is substantially more rapid than for metals and semiconductors. Above the ductile-brittle transitions, the ratios of hardness to yield stress are factors of 1.5 to 3 larger than calculated from theory. We suggest that the larger values result from the higher strainrates and larger strains involved in the hardness tests. Arrhenius plots of the hardness data for T>0.25 Tm are linear and exhibit changes in slope near 0.33 and 0.44 Tm. The former temperature is near the ductile-brittle transition temperature for the disordered carbides, and the latter is at the temperature for which a similar change in Arrhenius slope occurs in published yield-stress data. In addition, a change in slope is found for VC at 0.48 Tm (1275 °C) which is the order-disorder transition temperature for V6C5→VC0.84. These changes in slope are suggestive of corresponding changes in the thermally-activated processes governing plastic flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-786
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1973
Externally publishedYes


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