Processing and Microstructural Characterization of Ultra-High Temperature Ceramics
spark plasma sintering
ultra-high temperature ceramics
AdvisorCorral, Erica L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoRelease after 30-Dec-2019
AbstractSpark plasma sintering (SPS), also known as direct current sintering (DCS) is an advanced sintering technique that and uses a continuous pulsed direct current to rapidly process materials through Joule heating and offers significant advantages and versatility over conventional sintering methods. The technique features in energy saving owing to high heating rates and is very suitable for consolidation as well as diffusion bonding of electrical conductive advanced ceramic materials such as ultra high temperature ceramics (UHTCs). However, cooling rate in SPS also plays an important role as it directly influences the generation of residual stress especially for specimens consist of dissimilar phases such as composites and laminates primarily due to CTE mismatch. Therefore, in order to produce high quality materials, a zirconium diboride with addition of silicon carbide (ZrB2-SiC) ultra high temperature ceramic composite is selected to investigate the effect of cooling rate in SPS on microstructure and mechanical properties. After being densified at the target temperature, ZrB2-25vol%SiC specimens are cooled from 1800°C using controlled cooling rates of 10 °C/minute to ~225.5 °C/minute (free cooling). A time dependent finite element analysis (FEA) model is used to simulate the temperature gradients across the specimens at dwell times and during the cooling processes. The residual stress within the specimens are experimentally verified using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Raman spectrometry, and found maximum residual stress within the specimen cooled at 225.5 °C/minute. Peak Hardness and moderate elastic modulus is found for specimen sintered at 1800 °C and cooled at 100 °C/minute, which make this temperature and cooling rate appropriate conditions for future fabrication of UHTCs with similar thermal and electrical properties. These materials are of great interest for their excellent high-temperature capabilities, wear and corrosion resistance, and are regarded as material candidates for engineering applications in extreme environments. Therefore, development of an effective joining technique is important since near-net shape fabrication is challenging, and joints formed by brazing or conventional solid-state diffusion bonding limit the mechanical strength and high temperature applications of the base materials. Using SPS we have rapidly and successfully joined ZrB2 to hafnium diboride (HfB2) at 1750 and 1800 °C within a minute through electric current assisted solid-state diffusion bonding. The electric current enables localized Joule heating as well as plastic deformation of the mating surface asperities, and enhances the elemental interdiffusion process at the HfB2/ZrB2 interfaces owing to electromigration, which leads to the formation of ZrxHf1-xB2 solid solution. A series of characterization and analytical techniques including scanning electron microscopy (SEM), wavelength dispersive spectroscopy (WDS), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), and scanning transmission electron microscopy (S/TEM) are employed to study the microstructure and chemical composition at of the HfB2/ZrB2 interfaces. Apart from enhanced diffusion as a result of electromigration, the applied electric current can also be use to promote plastic deformation in ZrB2, which does not go through gross plastic deformation due to its extremely high melting point and brittle nature even when elevated temperature and pressure are applied. Through “electroplastic effect” (an effect based on electromigration) the mobility and multiplication of the existing dislocations in ZrB2 is enhanced, and a “metal-like” primary recrystallization phenomenon in the ZrB2 is observed meaning the material has experienced a sufficient amount of plastic deformation and reached the critical dislocation density and configuration for nucleation of “strain-free” grains. The average grain size of the recrystallized grain is only ½ of its original value. These findings suggest great potentials in microstructural tailoring and grain refinement of conductive advanced ceramics using SPS, and provide promising ideas for future fabrications and applications.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Materials Science & Engineering