Polycrystalline diamond (PCD) is used as a cutting tool in many industries because of its superior wear resistance compared to single crystal diamond. Engineers who design new PCD materials must have an understanding of the tradeoffs between material properties in order to tailor a product for different applications. Two competing material properties that are often encountered in PCD are transverse rupture strength and thermal-resistance. Thermal-resistance is directly related to the cobalt content of PCD, and is the ability of the material to withstand thermally induced degradation. In this thesis, we characterize the tradeoff boundary between transverse rupture strength and cobalt content of PCD. We also characterize the tradeoff boundary between cost and cobalt content, and show how both of these tradeoff boundaries can be used to manage product development, which adds value for managers in both engineering and business. In order to characterize these tradeoffs, empirical models are developed for each material property in terms of the design variables of sintering pressure and diamond grain size, where the pressure ranges from 55 kbar to 77 kbar and the grain size ranges from 12 μm to 70 μm in diameter. Then the models are used as optimization objectives in the normal constraint method to generate the tradeoff boundary. Finally, the tradeoff boundary is validated through additional experiments. The tradeoff boundary shows that the relationship between transverse rupture strength and cobalt content is not linear. It also shows that the optimal PCD designs can occur over a wide range of pressures and grain sizes, but pressures above 66 kbar and grain sizes between 20 and 30 μm appear to offer the best compromise between these material properties. These results are compared to the wear rates of PCD compacts in rock cutting tests. The rock cutting test results confirm that the designs with the best compromise between transverse rupture strength and cobalt content also have the highest wear resistance. In general, the designs that offer the best compromise between the properties are also the most expensive to manufacture.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





polycrystalline diamond, material properties, design, Pareto frontier