Processing and Room Temperature Mechanical Properties of a Zirconium Carbide Ceramic


Zirconium carbide (ZrC) powder, batched to a ratio of 0.98 C/Zr, was prepared by carbothermal reduction of ZrO2 with carbon black. Nominally phase-pure ZrC powder had a mean particle size of 2.4 μm. The synthesized powder was hot-pressed at 2150°C to a relative density of > 95%. The mean grain size was 2.7 ± 1.4 μm with a maximum observed grain size of 17.5 μm. The final hot-pressed billets had a C/Zr ratio of 0.92, and oxygen content of 0.5 wt%, as determined by gas fusion analysis. The mechanical properties of ZrC0.92O0.03 were measured at room temperature. Vickers’ hardness decreased from 19.5 GPa at a load of 0.5 kgf to 17.0 GPa at a load of 1 kgf. Flexural strength was 362.3 ± 46 MPa, Young's modulus was 397 ± 13 MPa, and fracture toughness was 2.9 ± 0.1 MPa•m1/2. Analysis of mechanical behavior revealed that the largest ZrC grains were the strength-limiting flaw in these ceramics.


Materials Science and Engineering


National Science Foundation, Grant DMR‐1742086

Keywords and Phrases

Characterization; Mechanical Properties; Processing

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0002-7820; 1551-2916

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2021 American Ceramic Society, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2021