Recent metrological approaches relevant to the characterisation of hardmetals

B. Roebuck; M. G. Gee; K. P. Mingard; H. G. Jones; H. Zhang; V. Tong

International Journal of Refractory Metals and Hard Materials 118 (2024) 106467-106467

Metrology provides the underpinning science that supports the practical use of testing standards; ensuring that different users, be it academia, government or industry, develop a common language regarding the capabilities of many materials sectors. For the hardmetal community, after a century of fundamental and effective applications, it isn’t surprising that there are already a considerable number of formal International Standards. For example, ISO and ASTM are well known [1], and over time these have evolved, with international consensus, from metrological studies. Currently important properties of hardmetals such as Stiffness, Density, Hardness, Toughness, Abrasion Resistance, Macroscopic Strength and Phase and Magnetic properties are comprehensively supported by these international standards. However, there are other testing strategies where improved knowledge could contribute to enhanced carbide functionality. These might include high resolution microscopy, indentation strength measurements, micro-tribology, thermal fatigue testing and modelling in all its diverse approaches which are not yet addressed through standards, though they often feature strongly in published academic papers. The hardmetal research community is international, diverse and productive in addressing these many facets and frequently embed metrological studies that are relevant to the practical characterisation of hardmetals. In the UK the Materials Group at the National Physical Laboratory, NPL, has a prime remit to focus on metrology and our contribution to the WC-Co 100 year anniversary publication provides some specifics of typical metrological issues that need further attention before addressing the formal stage of standardisation. In this celebratory paper we have chosen examples of recent metrological activities that fall under this remit and which have only partly been contributed to the scientific published domain. These five examples are High Hardness measurements, Dislocation Analysis, Micro-Tribology, Nanoindentation and Structural Characterisation.