Open Access Research Article Issue
Hard and tough novel high-pressure γ-Si3N4/Hf3N4 ceramic nanocomposites
Journal of Advanced Ceramics 2023, 12 (7): 1418-1429
Published: 06 July 2023

Cubic silicon nitride (γ-Si3N4) is superhard and one of the hardest materials after diamond and cubic boron nitride (cBN), but has higher thermal stability in an oxidizing environment than diamond, making it a competitive candidate for technological applications in harsh conditions (e.g., drill head and abrasives). Here, we report the high-pressure synthesis and characterization of the structural and mechanical properties of a γ-Si3N4/Hf3N4 ceramic nanocomposite derived from single-phase amorphous silicon (Si)–hafnium (Hf)–nitrogen (N) precursor. The synthesis of the γ-Si3N4/Hf3N4 nanocomposite is performed at ~20 GPa and ca. 1500 ℃ in a large volume multi anvil press. The structural evolution of the amorphous precursor and its crystallization to γ-Si3N4/Hf3N4 nanocomposites under high pressures is assessed by the in situ synchrotron energy-dispersive X-ray diffraction (ED-XRD) measurements at ~19.5 GPa in the temperature range of ca. 1000–1900 ℃. The fracture toughness (KIC) of the two-phase nanocomposite amounts ~6/6.9 MPa·m1/2 and is about 2 times that of single-phase γ-Si3N4, while its hardness of ca. 30 GPa remains high. This work provides a reliable and feasible route for the synthesis of advanced hard and tough γ-Si3N4-based nanocomposites with excellent thermal stabililty.

Open Access Research Article Issue
Single-source-precursor derived SiOC ceramics with in-situ formed CNTs and core–shell structured CoSi@C nanoparticles towards excellent electromagnetic wave absorption properties
Journal of Advanced Ceramics 2023, 12 (6): 1119-1135
Published: 06 May 2023

In this work, novel carbon nanotube (CNT)/CoSi/SiOC nanocomposite ceramics with in-situ formed multi-walled CNTs and core–shell structured CoSi@C nanoparticles were successfully prepared via a single-source-precursor derived ceramic approach. Ppolymeric precursor characterization as well as phase evolution, microstructure, and electromagnetic wave (EMW) absorption properties of the ceramics were investigated in detail. The results show that the in-situ formed CNTs and magnetic CoSi@C nanoparticles provide a synergistic effect on both dielectric loss (tanδε) and magnetic loss, leading to outstanding EMW absorption properties of the ceramics annealed at only 1100 ℃. (i) For the Co feeding of 6.25 wt%, the minimum reflection loss (RLmin) is −53.1 dB, and the effective absorption bandwidth (EAB) is 4.96 GHz (7.12–12.08 GHz) with a ceramic–paraffin hybrid sample thickness of 3.10 mm, achieving full X-band coverage; (ii) for the Co feeding of 9.09 wt%, the RLmin value of −66.4 dB and the EAB value of 3.04 GHz (8.40–11.44 GHz) were achieved with a thickness of only 2.27 mm. Therefore, the present CNT/CoSi/SiOC nanocomposite ceramics have potential applications for thin, lightweight, and efficient EMW absorption in harsh environments.

Open Access Research Article Issue
Boron-modified perhydropolysilazane towards facile synthesis of amorphous SiBN ceramic with excellent thermal stability
Journal of Advanced Ceramics 2022, 11 (7): 1104-1116
Published: 28 May 2022

SiBN ceramics are widely considered to be the most promising material for microwave-transparent applications in harsh environments owing to its excellent thermal stability and low dielectric constant. This work focuses on the synthesis and ceramization of single-source precursors for the preparation of SiBN ceramics as well as the investigation of the corresponding microstructural evolution at high temperatures including molecular dynamic simulations. Carbon- and chlorine-free perhydropolysilazanes were reacted with borane dimethyl sulfide complex at different molar ratios to synthesize single-source precursors, which were subsequently pyrolyzed and annealed under N2 atmosphere (without ammonolysis) to prepare SiBN ceramics at 1100, 1200, and 1300 ℃ with high ceramic yield in contrast to previously widely-used ammonolysis synthesis process. The obtained amorphous SiBN ceramics were shown to have remarkably improved thermal stability and oxidation resistance compared to amorphous silicon nitride. Particularly, the experimental results have been combined with molecular dynamics simulation to further study the amorphous structure of SiBN and the atomic-scale diffusion behavior of Si, B, and N at 1300 ℃. Incorporation of boron into the Si-N network is found to suppress the crystallization of the formed amorphous silicon nitride and hence improves its thermal stability in N2 atmosphere.

Open Access Erratum Issue
Erratum to: Si-based polymer-derived ceramics for energy conversion and storage
Journal of Advanced Ceramics 2022, 11 (6): 984
Published: 17 May 2022
Open Access Review Issue
Si-based polymer-derived ceramics for energy conversion and storage
Journal of Advanced Ceramics 2022, 11 (2): 197-246
Published: 11 January 2022

Since the 1960s, a new class of Si-based advanced ceramics called polymer-derived ceramics (PDCs) has been widely reported because of their unique capabilities to produce various ceramic materials (e.g., ceramic fibers, ceramic matrix composites, foams, films, and coatings) and their versatile applications. Particularly, due to their promising structural and functional properties for energy conversion and storage, the applications of PDCs in these fields have attracted much attention in recent years. This review highlights the recent progress in the PDC field with the focus on energy conversion and storage applications. Firstly, a brief introduction of the Si-based polymer-derived ceramics in terms of synthesis, processing, and microstructure characterization is provided, followed by a summary of PDCs used in energy conversion systems (mainly in gas turbine engines), including fundamentals and material issues, ceramic matrix composites, ceramic fibers, thermal and environmental barrier coatings, as well as high-temperature sensors. Subsequently, applications of PDCs in the field of energy storage are reviewed with a strong focus on anode materials for lithium and sodium ion batteries. The possible applications of the PDCs in Li-S batteries, supercapacitors, and fuel cells are discussed as well. Finally, a summary of the reported applications and perspectives for future research with PDCs are presented.

Open Access Research Article Issue
Single-source-precursor synthesis of porous W-containing SiC-based nanocomposites as hydrogen evolution reaction electrocatalysts
Journal of Advanced Ceramics 2021, 10 (6): 1338-1349
Published: 04 August 2021

In this paper, W-containing SiC-based ceramic nanocomposites were successfully prepared by a polymer-derived ceramic approach using allylhydridopolycarbosilane (AHPCS) as a SiC source, WCl6 as a tungsten source, polystyrene (PS) as a pore forming agent as well as divinyl benzene (DVB) as a carbon rich source. High-temperature phase behavior of the W-containing SiC-based ceramics after heat treatment was studied, showing that excessive DVB content in the feed will inhibit the crystallinity of W-containing nanoparticles in the final ceramic nanocomposites. The high specific surface area (SSA) of 169.4-276.9 m2/g can be maintained even at high temperature in the range of 1400-1500 ℃, due to the carbothermal reaction which usually occurs between 1300 and 1400 ℃. All prepared W-containing SiC-based nanocomposites reveal electrocatalytic activity for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). In detail, compared with reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE), the ceramic sample PWA-2-1300 after heat treatment at 1300 ℃ has the smallest overpotential of 286 mV when the current density is 10 mA·cm-2 in acid medium, indicating the promising perspective in the water splitting field.

Open Access Research Article Issue
Pomegranate-type Si/C anode with SiC taped, well-dispersed tiny Si particles for lithium-ion batteries
Journal of Advanced Ceramics 2021, 10 (5): 1129-1139
Published: 13 July 2021

Severe volume expansion and inherently poor lithium ion transmission are two major problems of silicon anodes. To address these issues, we proposed a pomegranate-type Si/C composite anode with highly dispersed tiny silicon particles as the core assisted by small amount of SiC. Skillfully exploiting the high heat from magnesiothermic reduction, SiC can assist the good dispersion of silicon and provide good interface compatibility and chemical stability. The silicon anchored to the carbon shell provides multipoint contact mode, that together with the carbon shell frame, significantly promoting the transfer of dual charge. Besides, the pomegranate-type microcluster structure also improves the tap density of the electrode, reduces the direct contact area between active material and electrolyte, and enhances the electrochemical performance.

Open Access Research Article Issue
Role of in-situ formed free carbon on electromagnetic absorption properties of polymer-derived SiC ceramics
Journal of Advanced Ceramics 2020, 9 (5): 617-628
Published: 10 October 2020

In order to enhance dielectric properties of polymer-derived SiC ceramics, a novel single-source-precursor was synthesized by the reaction of an allylhydrido polycarbosilane (AHPCS) and divinyl benzene (DVB) to form carbon-rich SiC. As expected, the free carbon contents of resultant SiC ceramics annealed at 1600 ℃ are significantly enhanced from 6.62 wt% to 44.67 wt%. After annealing at 900-1600 ℃, the obtained carbon-rich SiC ceramics undergo phase separation from amorphous to crystalline feature where superfine SiC nanocrystals and turbostratic carbon networks are dispersed in an amorphous SiC(O) matrix. The dielectric properties and electromagnetic (EM) absorption performance of as-synthesized carbon-rich SiC ceramics are significantly improved by increasing the structural order and content of free carbon. For the 1600 ℃ ceramics mixed with paraffin wax, the minimum reflection coefficient (RCmin) reaches -56.8 dB at 15.2 GHz with the thickness of 1.51 mm and a relatively broad effective bandwidth (the bandwidth of RC values lower than -10 dB) of 4.43 GHz, indicating the excellent EM absorption performance. The carbon-rich SiC ceramics have to be considered as harsh environmental EM absorbers with excellent chemical stability, high temperature, and oxidation and corrosion resistance.

Open Access Research Article Issue
Single-source-precursor synthesis and phase evolution of SiC-TaC-C ceramic nanocomposites containing core-shell structured TaC@C nanoparticles
Journal of Advanced Ceramics 2020, 9 (3): 320-328
Published: 05 June 2020

A novel single-source-precursor for SiC-TaC-C nanocomposites was successfully synthesized by the chemical reaction between a polycarbosilane (allylhydridopolycarbosilane, AHPCS) and tantalum(V) chloride (TaCl5), which was confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectra (FTIR) measurement. After pyrolysis of the resultant single-source-precursors at 900 ℃, amorphous ceramic powders were obtained. The 900 ℃ ceramics were annealed at different temperatures in the range of 1200-1600 ℃ to gain SiC-TaC-C nanocomposites. The phase evolution of ceramic nanocomposites was investigated by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The results indicate that the TaC starts to crystallize at lower temperature than the β-SiC. It is particularly worth pointing out that the unique core-shell structured TaC@C nanoparticles were in-situ formed and homogeneously distributed in the ceramic matrix after annealing at 1400 ℃. Even at a high temperature of 1600 ℃, the grain sizes of β-SiC and TaC are smaller than 30 nm, fulfilling the definition of nanocomposites. The present study related to SiC-TaC-C nanocomposites paves a new road for enriching ultra-high temperature ceramic family suitable for structural/functional applications in harsh environment.

Open Access Research Article Issue
ZrC-ZrB2-SiC ceramic nanocomposites derived from a novel single-source precursor with high ceramic yield
Journal of Advanced Ceramics 2019, 8 (1): 112-120
Published: 13 March 2019

For the first time, ZrC-ZrB2-SiC ceramic nanocomposites were successfully prepared by a single-source-precursor route, with allylhydridopolycarbosilane (AHPCS), triethylamine borane (TEAB), and bis(cyclopentadienyl) zirconium dichloride (Cp2ZrCl2) as starting materials. The polymer-to-ceramic transformation and thermal behavior of obtained single-source precursor were characterized by means of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA). The results show that the precursor possesses a high ceramic yield about 85% at 1000 ℃. The phase composition and microstructure of formed ZrC-ZrB2-SiC ceramics were investigated by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD) and high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). Meanwhile, the weight loss and chemical composition of the resultant ZrC-ZrB2-SiC nanocomposites were investigated after annealing at high temperature up to 1800 ℃. High temperature behavior with respect to decomposition as well as crystallization shows a promising high temperature stability of the formed ZrC-ZrB2-SiC nanocomposites.

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