Oxidation of SiC Fiber-Reinforced SiC Matrix Composites with a BN Interphase
The oxidation kinetics of SiC fiber-reinforced SiC matrix composites with a BN interphase (SiC/BN/SiC) and the constituent fibers was characterized by thermogravimetric analysis and microstructural characterization at temperatures (816-1538°C) and oxygen partial pressures (0.1% to 5% O2) relevant to the hypersonic flight and re-entry environments. TGA of the SiC fibers showed that oxidation of the thin BN surface layer led to initially rapid oxidation kinetics and formation of a relatively thick silica scale at very short times under most test conditions. At longer times the fiber oxidation kinetics were representative of silica formation on pure SiC. Oxidation of the composites was conducted on coupons with the SiC seal coat removed on one edge to simulate damage to the composite, allowing ingress of oxygen to the fiber tows. Microscopy was conducted to determine the distance of oxygen ingress into the coupon. At the lower temperatures and oxygen partial pressures the exposed edge did not seal off by silica formation, yet the BN interphase areas were only minimally oxidized. At the intermediate temperatures silica formed at the exposed surface limiting further oxidation of the exposed fibers and BN interphase areas. Finally at the highest temperature and lowest oxygen partial pressure, active oxidation of SiC occurred for both the fibers and coupons resulting in irregular material attack. Implications for use of SiC/BN/SiC materials for hypersonic vehicle thermal protection systems are summarized.
Toshio Maruyama, Masayuki Yoshiba, Kazuya Kurokawa, Yuuzou Kawahara and Nobuo Otsuka
E. J. Opila and M. K. Boyd, "Oxidation of SiC Fiber-Reinforced SiC Matrix Composites with a BN Interphase", Materials Science Forum, Vol. 696, pp. 342-347, 2011