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Experimental and numerical investigations of micro-meso damage evolution for a WC/Co-type tool material
Commercial Co/WC/diamond composites with 90vol.% Co also belong to hard metals and, as a kind of tool materials, are very useful. Their deformation behavior can be both ductile and quasi-brittle, determined by the diamond portion and local morphology. Another characteristic is that submicron-sized WC particles, possessing non-negligible strengthening influence due to the size effect, cannot be fully present in a representative microstructure. This work emphasizes the local damage evolutions’ dependence on microstructural features. Rice&Tracey damage and cohesive zone model describe the ductile and quasi-brittle damage behavior. The mechanism-based strain gradient plasticity takes the size effect of submicron-sized WC particles into consideration. Both real and artificial microstructures are used. Besides homogeneous boundary conditions (BCs), the periodic BCs are also applied in a 2D damage simulation. This work proves that FE models with two phases, the homogenized Co-WC matrix and diamond particles, can correctly predict damage evolution. FE results show that the WC phase has a higher mean stress value than the diamond phase, which is proved by the nano-indentation test. From FE simulation results, local hot spots appear in the matrix closed to sharp diamond corners/edges and crossing regions of shear bands. The experimental and numerical results are compared on micro and macro scales. For the local strain distribution and the damage development, numerical predictions match the reality well, even in morphological details. Furthermore, since the published data about WC-Co type tool materials with Co50vol.% are rare, the obtained knowledge in this work also contributes to the data collection.