Bulk, superhard, B--C--N nanocomposite compacts were prepared by ball milling a mixture of graphite and hexagonal boron nitride, encapsulating the ball-milled mixture at a pressure in a range of from about 15 GPa to about 25 GPa, and sintering the pressurized encapsulated ball-milled mixture at a temperature in a range of from about 1800-2500 K. The product bulk, superhard, nanocomposite compacts were well sintered compacts with nanocrystalline grains of at least one high-pressure phase of B--C--N surrounded by amorphous diamond-like carbon grain boundaries. The bulk compacts had a measured Vicker's hardness in a range of from about 41 GPa to about 68 GPa.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.