The project is concerned with the development of ceramic composite cutting tools with the goal to optimize the chemical compatibility of the cutting tool material with specific workpiece materials such as low-alloy steels. Ceramic composite cutting tools, based on Al203, Si3N4 or ZrO2 will be examined. As toughening phases, a titanium bearing compound will be chosen (titaniumboride, titaniumcarbide and(or) titaniumnitride). Recent work at Leuven has shown that titanium containing ceramics possibly could lead to the formation of a protective diffusion barrier between ceramic and steel. In a first experimental part, new ceramic composites will be produced and characterized with respect to microstructure and basic properties. Their interaction with low-alloy steels will be studied, based on simulations of the machining process by means of static interaction couples. Based on the acquired information, a chemical wear model will be developed, so as to be able to make predictions on the chemical wear resistance of a given ceramic cutting tool when machining an alloyed steel of known composition. The predictive capability of this model should allow intelligent selection of components for a given ceramic system or for conducting and exploration of new systems.
Finally, the developed model will be tested by performing actual high speed machining experiments. The project will allow the applicant to broaden her field of experience to the processing of ceramic composites and the measurement of specific properties, while at the same time challenging her skills in the high resolution examination and analysis of materials in the transmission electron microscope.