Point contact abrasive wear behavior of MAX phase materials

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The room temperature abrasive wear behavior of three selected MAX phases, Ti3SiC2, solution strengthened Ti2.7Zr0.3SiC2 and Cr2AlC, is investigated by low velocity scratch testing using a diamond conical indentor with a final radius of 100 μm and a cone angle of 120° and applied loads of up to 20 N. All three materials showed a relatively low wear resistance in comparison to most engineering ceramics such as Al2O3, Si3N4 and SiC. For all three materials, the wear rate scaled more or less linearly with the applied load. The softer Ti3SiC2 with a hardness of 2.8 GPa showed the lowest wear resistance with extensive ploughing and grain breakout damage, both within and outside the direct wear track, in particular at the highest load. The hardest material, Ti2.7Zr0.3SiC2, with a hardness of 7.3 GPa, showed a 5 times better wear resistance. The Cr2AlC with a hardness of 4.8 GPa showed a wear resistance equal to or even better than that of the Ti2.7Zr0.3SiC2. The wear mechanism depends on the applied load and the microstructure of the MAX phase materials tested. For the Ti3SiC2 sample, a quasi-plastic deformation behavior occurs below a point load of 10 N, resulting in grain bending, kink band formation and delamination, grain de-cohesion, as well as trans-and intra-granular fracture near the scratch groove. At this load, the Ti2.7Zr0.3SiC2 and Cr2AlC MAX samples display plastic ploughing, grain boundary cracks and material dislodgments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1722-1729
JournalCeramics International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • MAX phase
  • Microstructure
  • Scratch damage
  • Wear resistance

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