Subgrain structure and dislocations in WC-Co hard metals revealed by electron channelling contrast imaging

Jablon, B.M. and Mingard, K. and Winkelmann, A. and Naresh-Kumar, G. and Hourahine, B. and Trager-Cowan, C. (2020) Subgrain structure and dislocations in WC-Co hard metals revealed by electron channelling contrast imaging. International Journal of Refractory Metals and Hard Materials, 87. 105159. ISSN 0263-4368 (

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In this study, electron channelling contrast imaging (ECCI) and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) have been used to examine the substructure and dislocations in tungsten carbide (WC) grains in tungsten carbide-cobalt (WC-Co) hardmetals. These complimentary scanning electron microscopy (SEM) diffraction techniques provide quantifiable information of the substructure without the difficulty of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) sample preparation and examination. Subgrain structures in WC grains have rarely been reported previously because of the sample preparation difficulty, but this study has found they can occur frequently and may provide information on grain growth during sintering. ECCI has also shown for the first time complex dislocation networks across large grains, indicating accumulation of stress in as-sintered materials. To identify the defects revealed by ECCI more precisely, WC grains with surface normals [0001],[1-100] and [11-20], were identified using inverse pole figure orientation maps generated from EBSD data. ECC images from these grains reveal defects intersecting the surface and subgrains bound by dislocations. The combination of ECCI and EBSD allows for new insights into dislocation networks in a WC-Co hardmetal sample over a large, in this case 75 μm × 75 μm, field of view.