Ti(C,N)-reinforced alumina-zirconia composites with different ratios of C to N in titanium carbonitride solid solutions, such as Ti(C0.3,N0.7) (C:N = 30:70) and Ti(C0.5,N0.5) (C:N = 50:50), were tested to improve their mechanical properties. Spark plasma sintering (SPS) with temperatures ranging from 1600 °C to 1675 °C and pressureless sintering (PS) with a higher temperature of 1720 °C were used to compare results. The following mechanical and physical properties were determined: Vickers hardness, Young's modulus, apparent density, wear resistance, and fracture toughness. A composite with the addition of Ti(C0.5,N0.5)n nanopowder exhibited the highest Vickers hardness of over 19.0 GPa, and its fracture toughness was at 5.0 Mpa·m1/2. A composite with the Ti(C0.3,N0.7) phase was found to have lower values of Vickers hardness (by about 10%), friction coefficient, and specific wear rate of disc (Wsd) compared to the composite with the addition of Ti(C0.5,N0.5). The Vickers hardness values slightly decreased (from 5% to 10%) with increasing sintering temperature. The mechanical properties of the samples sintered using PS were lower than those of the samples that were spark plasma sintered. This research on alumina-zirconia composites with different ratios of C to N in titanium carbonitride solid solution Ti(C,N), sintered using an unconventional SPS method, reveals the effect of C/N ratios on improving mechanical properties of tested composites. X-ray analysis of the phase composition and an observation of the microstructure was carried out.
Keywords: Al2O3-ZrO2 ceramics; KIC; SPS; Ti(C,N); X-ray analysis; pressureless sintering; specific wear rate.