Experimental observations of amorphization in stoichiometric and boron-rich boron carbide

Ankur Chauhan, Mark C. Schaefer, Richard A. Haber, Kevin J. Hemker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Boron carbide is extremely hard but has been shown to undergo stress-induced amorphization when subjected to large nonhydrostatic stresses. This localized amorphization has been associated with the sudden loss of its shear strength and poor ballistic performance. Recent quantum mechanics predictions suggest that boron-enrichment may be used to mitigate amorphization in boron carbide. As a means to test this hypothesis, stoichiometric boron carbide (nominally B4C) and a novel composition of B-rich boron carbide (nominally B6.3C) were investigated. Nanoindentation followed by Raman spectroscopy revealed an obvious reduction in the Raman peaks associated with amorphization in the B-rich material. Transmission electron microscopy observations of the region below the nanoindents facilitated direct observation of amorphization, confirmed the Raman finding that amorphization is reduced in the B-rich specimens, and provided additional insight into deformation mechanisms. It is surmised that boron-rich alloys offer a path to reducing local amorphization in boron carbide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-215
Number of pages9
JournalActa Materialia
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


  • Amorphization
  • Boron carbide
  • Nanoindentation
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • TEM

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