SULIMA Iwona Institute of Technology, Pedagogical University of Cracow

TiB2 ceramic has excellent physical and chemical properties, in particular its exceptional hardness, wear resistance and corrosion resistance. Therefore, the incorporation of hard ceramic particles into steel matrix can improve the hardness and wear resistance in various ways. In the present study, the effects of TiB2 ceramic on the density, mechanical, tribological properties and microstructure were investigated. The austenitic stainless steel/TiB2 composites with various volume of TiB2 (0–8 vol.%) were prepared by Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS). The samples were sintered at temperatures of 1000C and 1100C and duration of 5 and 30 minutes. The phase composition and microstructures were characterized using X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. For the tested composites, the relative density, Young’s modulus, hardness, compression strength and wear resistance were measured. The highest densities were obtained for composites prepared at 1100C. The relative densities for these samples were in the range of 96-99 %. Analysis of the composite microstructure revealed that TiB2 particles are homogeneously distributed in the steel matrix. In addition, formation of new fine chromium phases which were distributed along the grain boundaries was observed. The addition of hard TiB2 particles to steel leads to significant increase of hardness. Furthermore, the wear resistance values of the composites were better for higher TiB2 contents.