The alloying and processing of tool steels has evolved to create materials with maximized wear resistance and toughness. This project will investigate the processing and properties of a metal matrix composite material with a steel matrix and dispersed particles of cubic boron nitride (cBN). The objective is to produce a fine distribution of cBN particles in a steel matrix and assess improvements in wear resistance and toughness. The scope of work will include:

  • thermodynamic and kinetic calculations of the behavior of B and N in steel
  • powder mixing and sintering
  • microstructural characterization
  • property characterization (primarily hardness, but possible wear tests could be conceived)

The optimum outcomes of this project are production of a steel-cBN MMC with an even dispersion of particles and high hardness, along with a fundamental understanding of the behavior of BN in steel during melting and annealing processes.