Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Scott Chumbley


Metal matrix composites have been widely studied in terms of abrasion resistance, but a particular material system may behave differently as particle size, morphology, composition, and distribution of the hardening phase varies. The purpose of this thesis was to understand the mechanical and microstructural effects of combining titanium carbide with 431 series stainless steel to create a unique composite via laser cladding, particularly regarding wear properties. The most predominant effect in increasing abrasion resistance, measured via ASTM G65, was confirmed to be volume fraction of titanium carbide addition. Macrohardness was directly proportional to the amount of carbide, though there was an overall reduction in individual particle microhardness after cladding. The reduction in particle hardness was obscured by the effect of volume fraction carbide and did not substantially contribute to the wear resistance changes. A model evaluating effective mean free path of the titanium carbide particles was created and correlated to the measured data. The model proved successful in linking theoretical mean free path to overall abrasion resistance. The effects of the titanium carbide particle distributions were limited, while differences in particle size were noticeable. The mean free path model did not correlate well with the particle size, but it was shown that the fine carbides were completely removed by the coarse abrasive particles in the ASTM G65 test. The particle morphology showed indications of influencing the wear mode, but no statistical reduction was observed in the volume loss figures. Future studies may more specifically focus on particle morphology or compositional effects of the carbide particles.


Copyright Owner

Daniel Thomas Cavanaugh



File Format


File Size

86 pages