Nanodiamonds (ND) present a unique combination of desirable mechanical, functional, and chemical characteristics that are ideally suited for reinforcing and enhancing the wear resistance of carbide based materials. Tungsten carbide cobalt (WC-Co) matrix nanocomposites reinforced with varying amounts of ND (2 - 10 vol.%) were synthesized here by spark plasma sintering. The rapid thermal consolidation route enabled attainment of dense samples with a significant retention of the metastable diamond phase. NDs affected the microstructural evolution, chemistry, and mechanical properties of WC-Co. Macroscale reciprocating pin-on-disk tests were conducted to assess wear behavior under conditions relevant to service environments, e.g., high cycles and high contact pressure. Microscale tribological properties were assessed using microscratch tests in order to investigate the intrinsic effects of ND on the localized mechanical and tribological response of WC-Co-ND composites. The incorporation of 10 vol.% ND enhanced wear resistance at both the micro- and macroscale, by 28% and 35%, respectively.
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