Effect of high-energy ball-milling on the characteristics of Fe3Al-based HVOF coatings containing boride and nitride phases

Significance Statement

Ceramic particles based on nitrides, carbides and borides were found to be thermodynamically stable within iron aluminide matrix. Out of the nitrides and borides, aluminum nitride and iron boride have been less investigated.

The high energy ball-milling has been used to produce composite materials with very fine microstructures through diffusion and formation of solid solutions. From previous research, aluminum-based nanocomposite with nanoparticles of boron nitride has been obtained, but the mechanical and tribological properties after the addition of boron-nitride has not been discussed.

A team of researchers at Polytechnique Montréal and Institut de recherche d’Hydro-Québec presented a work in order to enhance the mechanical and tribological properties of iron aluminide-based composite materials by dispersion of nanoscale boron nitride BN and in-situ precipitated aluminum nitride and iron boride particles in iron aluminide Fe3Al matrix using the high energy ball-milling process and thermal treatment. The work published in journal, Wear, thereafter studied the influence of heat-treatment and subsequent milling of powder mixtures on microstructure and properties of coatings prepared by high velocity oxy-fuel deposition process.

In their experiments, powder mixtures were prepared from various concentrations of iron aluminide ball-milled at 1000rpm for 10h with zero to 50mol% of boron nitride. High velocity oxy-fuel coatings were prepared on austenitic stainless steel using kerosene fuel and oxygen gas for combustion.

The wear rate of 304-type stainless steel reduced by ten times when Fe3Al coating made from pure iron aluminide milled powder was applied. The addition of boron nitride phases in iron aluminide increases micro-hardness by up to 40% in case of 30mol% of boron nitride.

The researchers achieved the lowest wear rate of 5 x 10-7mm3/Nm and highest micro-hardness of 7.8GPa for a coating prepared from iron aluminide powder milled at higher energy for 10h with 30mol% of boron nitride (C4 coating). The wear rate of high velocity oxy-fuel coatings further decreases to 2 x 10-7mm3/Nm when same powder was annealed and re-milled at high energy for 10h.

Key advances in improving the mechanical and tribological properties of the Fe3Al-based composite materials have been achieved. The findings of this study also proved that thermal spraying of the powders tested results in hard coatings with microstructures similar to that of powders and that  degradation mechanism appeared to be dominated by abrasive and fatigue wear. 

Effect of high-energy ball-milling on the characteristics of Fe3Al-based HVOF coatings containing boride and nitride phases - advances in engineeringSEM micrograph of the cross-section, microhardness and wear rate of the HVOF coating prepared from as-milled powder (CP4) compared to coatings fabricated from heat-treated and re-milled powders for 5 minutes (CAP45min), 2 hours (CAP42h) and 10 hours (CAP410h).

About the author

Dr. Robert Schulz has 30 years of experience in the development of new materials. He is the author or co-author of more than 200 papers and has 30 basic patents in several countries. In Canada, he has been a pioneer in the development of nanocrystalline materials made by high energy ball milling.

He is one of the inventors of the so-called nanocrystalline metal hydrides. He has a strong experience in technology transfer and has participated in the start-up of high-tech companies involved in the development and commercialization of advanced materials. He has an Engineering degree in physics from Ecole Polytechnique, Montreal and a PhD in Applied Physics from Caltech, USA.

He is currently a Senior Research Scientist in Materials Science at the Hydro-Quebec Research Institute in Canada. His fields of expertise are: Advanced Materials (Nanostructured and Amorphous alloys); Hydrogen Technologies (H2 storage, Electrolysis, Fuel cells); Electrochemical Processes (Sodium chlorate, Aluminum, H2 production); Material Characterization and Surface Analysis; Coating technologies (thermal spray), Energy Efficiency and Tribology.

About the author

Jolanta Klemberg-Sapieha is Associate Professor at Polytechnique Montréal. She obtained her Master’s and PhD degrees in Chemical Engineering and in Materials Engineering from the Lodz University of Technology, Poland. She joined Polytechnique Montréal, where she is now co-founder and Director of the Laboratory for Optical and Tribo-mechanical Metrology (LOTM), Associate Director of the Functional Coating and Surface Engineering Laboratory, and Principal Collaborator of the NSERC Multisectorial Industrial Research Chair in Coatings and Surface Engineering within the Department of Engineering Physics.

The main research interests of J.E. Klemberg-Sapieha are the science and technology of thin films, surfaces, interfaces and coating systems. She has particularly contributed to the field of hard and superhard protective coatings, tribological coatings, mechanical and tribo-corrosion properties of materials, coatings on plastics, and surface and interface analysis in the context of aerospace, manufacturing, bio-medical, optical, automotive and other applications. Her research resulted in more than 300 publications, and in 10 patents.

Journal Reference

Pougoum, F1, Martinu, L1, Desjardins, P1, Klemberg-Sapieha, J1, Gaudet, S2, Savoie, S2, Schulz, R2. Effect of high-energy ball-milling on the characteristics of Fe3Al-based HVOF coatings containing boride and nitride phases, Wear 358-359 (2016) 97-108.

Show Affiliations
  1. Groupe de recherche en physique et technologie des couches minces (GCM), Engineering Physics Department, Polytechnique Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada H3C 3A7
  2. Materials Science Department, Institut de recherche d’Hydro-Québec (IREQ), Varennes, QC, Canada J3X 1S1


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