Hardness and elastic properties of Ti(CxN1-x), Zr(CxN1-x) and Hf(CxN1-x)

Q. Yang, W. Lengauer, T. Koch, M. Scheerer, I. Smid

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141 Scopus citations


Here we report for the first time experimental results of the nanohardness and elastic properties (Young's modulus, shear modulus, bulk modulus) of well-characterised complete series of bulk Ti, Zr and Hf carbonitrides, Ti(CxN1-x), Ti(CxN1-x)0.81, Zr(CxN1-x) and Hf(CxN1-x), as a function of the carbon/nitrogen ratio measured by continuous nano-indentation test and an ultrasonic technique. A correlation between elastic constants and porosity of TiC and TiN was obtained and used to correct elastic constants for the zero-porosity state. Recently, band structure calculations for transition metal carbonitrides yielded a maximum of the shear modulus of Ti and Hf carbonitrides at a valence electron concentration (VEC) of ≈ 8.4 and ≈ 8.2, respectively. These results were used to explain the hardness maximum of carbonitrides, which was considered as a success of theoretical material design. For the stoichiometric carbonitrides we indeed found - though much weaker than predicted - the maximum at [C]/([C] + [N]) ≈ 0.6-0.8 (VEC ≈ 8.4-8.2) of the shear modulus, but neither the nanohardness nor the microhardness show a corresponding maximu. Thus the conclusion of a correlation of hardness and shear modulus is inapplicable for this type of hard materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L5-L9
JournalJournal of Alloys and Compounds
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 14 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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