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Surface characterization of 6H-SiC (0001) substrates in indentation and abrasive machining

Surface characterization of 6H-SiC (0001) substrates in indentation and abrasive machining was carried out to investigate microfracture, residual damage, and surface roughness associated with material removal and surface generation. Brittle versus plastic deformation was studied using Vickers indention and nano-indentation. To characterize the abrasive machining response, the 6H-SiC (0001) substrates were ground using diamond wheels with grit sizes of 25, 15 and 7 μm, and then polished with diamond suspensions of 3 and 0.05 μm. It is found that in indentation, there was a scale effect for brittle versus plastic deformation in 6H-SiC substrates. Also, in grinding, the scales of fracture and surface roughness of the substrates decreased with a decrease in diamond grit size. However, in polishing, a reduction in grit size of diamond suspensions gave no significant improvement in surface roughness. Furthermore, the results showed that fracture-free 6H-SiC (0001) surfaces were generated in polishing with the existence of the residual crystal defects, which were associated with the origin of defects in single crystal growth.
 
Fig. 1. (a) Optical micrograph of the Vickers indention impression in 6H-SiC (0001) substrate at a load of 5 N, (b) Optical micrograph of the nano-indentation pattern in 6H-SiC (0001) substrate at the loads of up to 400 mN, and (c) the corresponding loading–unloading curves in the nano-indentation.
 
Source: International Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture
 
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