Measurements have been made at room temperature of the strength and fracture toughness of a complex nickel silicide containing particles of a ductile phase. The matrix was either a single-phase L12 distorted Ni3Si (β2) or a two-phase Ni3Si (β1) and Ni31Si12 (γ) mixture. The particles were a solid solution of Ni(Si) encased within a rim of β1; they contained a dispersion of β1 precipitates. The principal variable was the particle size, and this had little effect on the properties. The results show that the compressive yield strength (≃ 1200 MPa), the compressive ductility (2–10%) and the fracture toughness (17 ± 3 MPa m1/2) are relatively high. The toughness and ductility are attributed to the plastic deformation and ductile fracture of the crack-stopping Ni(Si) particles.
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