Solid State Sintering of SiC-Ceramics
The most interesting feature in silicon carbide is the structure-property relation where the formation of different types of microstructure due to different structural modifications (polytypism) and grain-boundary/interfacial phase chemistry dictate the final properties of the monoliths. Since synthesis of SiC in last century, several methods such as hot pressing with a sintering aid (B, C), pressureless sintering with a sintering aid (B, C, Al) and reaction bonded (Si-SiC) were used to fabricate dense SiC. A newer method of fast sintering (spark plasma sintering) using pulsed current is also employed to consolidate nano/submicron size SiC with or without additives. The solid state sintered SiC materials have fine-grained equiaxed microstructure (grain size 1 to 4 µm) with thin layer of intergranular phases (amorphous film), exhibit moderate high-temperature creep and oxidation resistance, fracture toughness (3 to 4 MPam1/2) and have highly flaw-sensitive strength at room temperature. The high temperature mechanical properties are highly influenced by the presence of free C, Al and B + C containing grain-boundary phases. Moreover, during prolong processing, abnormal grain growth occurs resulting in anisotropic -SiC phase formation. The Si-SiC materials are poor candidates for high-temperature applications due to the limit set by the melting point of silicon, and the limitations of hot pressing (HPSiC) as a densification technique are well known. SPSed SiC without sintering additive revealed inferior mechanical properties attributed to poor bonding between adjacent grains. In the present survey, an overview of the new developments in silicon carbide processing and properties will be presented together with the information on structure-properties correlationship. Information on the structure of the grain-boundary/secondary phases and interfaces until now was not comprehensively analyzed.
K. Biswas, "Solid State Sintering of SiC-Ceramics", Materials Science Forum, Vol. 624, pp. 71-89, 2009