Fundamental understanding of the deformation mechanism and corresponding behavior of RB-SiC ceramics subjected to nano-scratch in ambient temperature

Zhipeng Li, Feihu Zhang, Xichun Luo, Yukui Cai

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To get insight into nano-scale deformation behavior and material removal mechanism of RB-SiC ceramic, nanoscratch experiments were performed using a Berkovich indenter. Structure changes in chips and subsurface deformation were characterized by means of Raman spectroscopy. The result shows that the SiC phase underwent amorphization in ductile chips, while no amorphous feature can be observed in brittle chips and substrate within scratch groove. The following estimated stress surround the indenter reveals that amorphous deformation in ductile chips is governed by tangential stress (above 95 GPa), whereas the dislocations-based substrate deformation mechanism was dominated by normal stress. In the end, the effects of normal load and scratching velocity on the scratch behavior including scratch residual depth, elastic recovery and friction coefficient that related to RB-SiC ceramic deformation mechanism were also analyzed. With the increase of normal load, the deformation mechanism transfers from ductile to brittle fracture mode and cause the decrease of elastic recovery and the increase of residual depth and friction coefficient. Furthermore, the increased high density of dislocations as a result of the increased scratching velocity give rise to the increase of scratch hardness, which finally result in the increase of elastic recovery and decrease of residual depth and friction coefficients. This study contributes a new understanding of the brittle material deformation mechanism during a nano-scale scratching process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Surface Science
Early online date13 Nov 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Nov 2018



  • RB-SiC ceramic
  • amorphization
  • dislocation
  • brittle fracture
  • scratch behavior

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