The third WINTEREV meeting was at Fraunhofer IWS, Dresden on 23-24 February 2006; hosted by Dr Lutz-Michael Berger of the Institute for Materials and Beam Technology, Fraunhofer IWS, Dresden, the WINTEREV was attended by 17 people from eleven organisations from across industry, academia and RTOs, who debated various issues associated with structure-property relations. The primary subject was defined as "Property Maps and Near-Surface Characterisation" and included Structure-Property Relations (Rationale and Developments), Near Surface Characterisation (Tools and Methods), Developments in Thermal Sprayed Hard Coatings (Characterisation and Testing) and Tribological Issues (Wear, Erosion and Corrosion).
New hardmetals based on carbides and carbonitrides with transition metal binders are being evaluated on a continuous basis, particularly to examine new kinds of powders, powder mixes and compositions. Thermally spayed coatings (TSC) are increasing in their market penetration, both in volume and in types. Often TSC are based on hardmetal systems, although there are significant differences in their microstructures. New materials need to be benchmarked against conventional materials for basic properties such as hardness, wear resistance and toughness. Benchmarking can be underpinned by a thorough understanding of structure-property relations. This task is lengthy and frequently difficult because of the lack of good data from validated measurement methods by which to make the comparisons. Also, there has been considerable research using the concepts of microstructural design to produce alternatives to the conventional two-phase structures. In addition, hard materials are frequently designed to give enhanced properties in near-surface regions with structures that differ from the internal matrix. There are, therefore, important questions regarding the utility of the structure-property relations developed for bulk materials when applied to the characterisation of these extremely fine structures close to the surface.