WINTEREV 15 was in April 2015 at Harwell, Oxford, UK hosted by Element Six. It was attended by around 50 technical representatives from academia, research bodies and industry. The topic for discussion was "Super Hard Materials".
Super Hard Materials can generally be described for the most part as composite materials with interpenetrating crystalline phases that have widely differing properties. The performance and reliability of Super Hard tool components are controlled by the materials internal microstructure over a wide length scale range. Detailed knowledge of the in-service degradation mechanisms will clearly lead to improved performance. Effective implementation of relevant microstructural effects on critical design parameters requires further 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. Super Hard Materials are heterogeneous in nature and at the microscale the size dependence and discrete nature of deformation (often under constraint), damage and fracture within individual phases controls performance. Capturing microscopic phenomena and bringing them to the macroscale, will be essential for the correct interpretation of strength, toughness, wear and fatigue degradation phenomena in Super Hard Materials.
Identification and quantitative description of physical mechanisms which control defect and damage development is a major challenge. It is particularly important to take advantage of advanced characterisation techniques such as in situ scanning electron microscopy (SEM) testing, nanoindentation, 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 will help to characterise the deformation behaviour and operative mechanisms at the microstructural scale for Super Hard Materials.