Thermally sprayed cermet powder coatings as well as bulk cermet materials sintered of carbide/metal powder blends are widely used in applications with severe abrasive wear conditions. A cost-saving alternative can be provided by using iron-based melt-atomised hard alloy powder feedstocks. Among them, commercial alloys containing high amounts of vanadium and carbon obtain outstanding wear resistance due to their high volume fraction of finely dispersed, hard vanadium carbides. However, their performance is still exceeded by cemented carbides. A further improvement of the wear properties of hard alloys basically can be attained by increasing their carbide content, concurrently considering the limitations of the melting and atomisation process regarding the melting temperature. A possible solution can be provided by alloying the basic system Fe-V-C with an additional strong carbide former like niobium. Subject of this work is the comparing investigation of the technologically important melting equilibria in the systems Fe-V-C and Fe-V-C-Nb.

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