Tungsten based alloys have become of critical importance in a number of applications including plasma-facing materials in nuclear fusion reactors, rocket nozzles for aerospace applications, and in kinetic energy penetrators in the defense industry. Formation of components for these uses by powder metallurgical techniques has proven challenging, due to tungsten's relatively poor sinterability. Here we report the use of field assisted sintering technique (FAST) to produce high density, fine grain alloys with mechanical properties comparable or superior to that of components produced by conventional techniques. Alloys of pure tungsten, W-3 vol%TiC, W-5 vol%TiC, and W-10 vol%Ta were synthesized at 2100 °C, 35 MPa for 25 min using FAST. Microstructural characterization revealed effective reduction of grain size with TiC addition and preferential diffusion of oxygen into the center of tantalum particles in tantalum containing alloys. Tensile testing of alloys revealed TiC addition to W resulted in substantially improved ultimate tensile strength at the cost of ductility in comparison at temperatures up to 1926 °C (3500 °F) however this strengthening effect was lost at 2204 °C (4000 °F). Addition of 10 vol%Ta to W resulted in reduced hardness at room temperature, but substantially increased yield strength at the cost of slightly reduced ductility at 1926 °C and 2204 °C.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering