SUMMEREV 16 took place in June 2016 in Liechtenstein hosted by Hilti AG. It was attended by around 40 technical representatives from academia, research bodies and industry. The topic for discussion was "Characterisation of Hardmetals and Superhard Materials".
Hardmetals and Superhard Materials are defined as composite materials with interpenetrating crystalline phases that have properties that vary from the high elasticity of inorganic carbides to the high plasticity of supporting metallic regions. The performance and reliability of ultrahard tool components are controlled by material internal microstructure over a wide length scale range, from nano to micrometres in general. Additionally, performance of such tools is controlled by in-service deformation mechanisms. Effective implementation of relevant microstructural effects on critical design parameters requires intensive research and applied work, both experimental and modelling, on damage and damage evolution, particularly as related to behaviour of intrinsic (short) flaws and surface behaviour. Hard materials are by their nature heterogeneous in structure and at the microscale the size dependence and the discrete nature of deformation (often under constraint) together with damage and fracture within individual phases controls performance. Capturing microscopic phenomena and bringing them to the macroscale is essential for the correct interpretation of strength, toughness, wear and fatigue degradation phenomena in Hardmetals and Superhard Materials.
Identification and quantitative description of physical mechanisms which control defect and damage development is a major challenge. It is particularly important to apply advanced characterisation techniques such as in situ scanning electron microscopy (SEM) testing, microscale testing, electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), focussed ion beam (FIB), and 3-D tomography to provide equivalent information to that yielded by electron microscopy (mainly by means of fractographic analysis) to current knowledge. Extensive and detailed use of these techniques helps to characterise the deformation behaviour and operative mechanisms at the microstructural scale for Hardmetals and Superhard Materials
Summerev 16 focused on a selected subset of the above topics, in particular emphasising the characterisation of interfaces and associated chemistry and phase metrology of substrates and adjacent matrices, with additional presentations on the influence of these parameters on elevated temperature properties. It is intended that "interfaces" can be interpreted at both the microscopic scale (interphase) and mesoscopic (coatings, substrates, etc) and "elevated" does not just mean very high temperatures but also intermediate, i.e. up to say 6-800 oC.
Subsequent meetings under the overall banner of Hardmetals and Superhard Materials intended to address complementary aspects such as modelling (processing and performance), wear performance and tribological behaviour, heterogeneity and near surface structures; where possible using advanced characterisation methods such as in situ tests, 3D microscopy and high resolution analytical methods.