Mechanical Properties and Deformation Behavior of Superhard Lightweight Nanocrystalline Ceramics

B Jeong and S Lahkar and Q An and KM Reddy, NANOMATERIALS, 12, 3228 (2022).

DOI: 10.3390/nano12183228

Lightweight polycrystalline ceramics possess promising physical, chemical, and mechanical properties, which can be used in a variety of important structural applications. However, these ceramics with coarse- grained structures are brittle and have low fracture toughness due to their rigid covalent bonding (more often consisting of high-angle grain boundaries) that can cause catastrophic failures. Nanocrystalline ceramics with soft interface phases or disordered structures at grain boundaries have been demonstrated to enhance their mechanical properties, such as strength, toughness, and ductility, significantly. In this review, the underlying deformation mechanisms that are contributing to the enhanced mechanical properties of superhard nanocrystalline ceramics, particularly in boron carbide and silicon carbide, are elucidated using state-of-the-art transmission electron microscopy and first-principles simulations. The observations on these superhard ceramics revealed that grain boundary sliding induced amorphization can effectively accommodate local deformation, leading to an outstanding combination of mechanical properties.

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