Microstructure evolution and reaction mechanism of biomorphous SiSiC ceramics

Cordt Zollfrank, Heino Sieber

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Liquid Si infiltration (LSI) of beech wood-derived biocarbon (C B) templates at 1550°C yields biomorphous SiSiC ceramics with the morphology of the initial biological preform. The biomorphous SiSiC ceramic consists of solidified Si in the cell lumina, polycrystalline β-SiC and residual carbon islands located at the position of former wood cell walls. The evolution of the microstructure during reactive Si melt infiltration was assessed by infiltration experiments at various times and investigated by X-ray diffraction as well as light scanning electron and transmission electron microscopy in combination with elemental analysis by energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry. Four different stages of the reactive infiltration process could be distinguished, starting with a heterogeneous nucleation of nano-grained SiC on the pore surfaces of the C B template by a Si vapor phase reaction below the Si melting temperature. After spontaneous Si melt infiltration, a stepwise reaction results in the simultaneous formation of a nano-grained SiC layer and a coarse-grained SiC phase on the inner pore surfaces. Further reaction proceeds slowly by diffusion of the reactants through the formed SiC layer and the microstructure evolution is dominated by dissolution and re-crystallization processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


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