Sintered diamonds are used in grinding because they offer better mechanical properties than conventional materials (mineral or silicon carbide abrasives) and yield high grinding speed and long life. In addition, because of their thermal performance, they contribute to cooling the workpiece, avoiding excessive temperatures. Thus in order to choose the best material for the worktool, one often must know the thermal conductivity of sintered diamond. In this work, the thermal conductivity of sintered diamond is evaluated as a function of the volume fraction of diamond in the composite and for two types of metallic binders: hard and soft. The measurement technique is based on the flash method that associates heating and measurement devices without sample contact and on parameter estimation using a three-layer thermal model. With a hard metallic binder, the thermal conductivity of sintered diamond was found to increase up to 64% for diamond volume fraction increasing from 0 to 25%. The increase is much smaller for the soft binder: 35% for diamond volume reaching 25%. In addition, experimental data were found far below the value predicted by conventional analytical models for effective thermal conductivity. A possible explanation is that the thermal conductivity of such composites is affected by poor heat transfer at the diamond/binder interface, the thermal contact resistance between matrix and diamond particles being estimated at between 0.75 and 1.25 10−6 m2K.W−1.

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