WC-Co cemented carbides (hardmetals) are a group of composite materials exhibiting outstanding combinations of hardness and toughness. As a consequence, they are mostly used for highly demanding applications, such as cutting and drilling tools, where cyclic loading is one of the most critical service conditions.
In this study, a numerical study of the mesoscale fatigue crack growth in WC-Co is conducted. Within this context, a model based on a continuum damage mechanics approach was implemented in commercial solver Abaqus/Explicit for simulating the crack propagation in the material. Separate damage laws, based on brittle failure and fatigue, were used for describing the mechanical response of WC and Co phases, respectively.
The material model was implemented to artificially generated microstructures of WC-Co, having different Co contents. The fatigue crack growth rate diagrams generated from the models indicate a good agreement with respect to the experimental observations.