Alumina/silicon carbide nanocomposites by hybrid polymer/powder processing: Microstructures and mechanical properties

Martin Sternitzke, Brian Derby, Richard J. Brook

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Nanocomposites with fine, coarse, and bimodal silicon carbide (SiC) particle-size distributions were hot pressed and examined by transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and optical microscopy, as well as by four-point-bend and indentation tests. The finer SiC nanophase was introduced homogeneously by coating a silicon-containing polymer onto the alumina (Al 2O 3) powder, followed by a pyrolysis procedure; for the coarser SiC, nanophase conventional powder processing was used. Powder- and polymer-processed nanocomposites both had their maximum strengths at 5 vol% of SiC. High-strength nanocomposites that contained a higher volume fraction of SiC could be fabricated when the two methods were combined in a hybrid processing route. The SiC phase in the resulting hybrid materials originated from both the polymer and the SiC powder. The mechanical properties of these materials could be correlated with the fabrication route. Processing-flaw populations and calculated Griffith-flaw sizes were not only smaller, but they were also significantly different in the nanocomposites, in comparison to those in Al 2O 3 ceramics; this may explain the strength increase in Al 2O 3/SiC nanocomposite materials.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)41-48
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 1998


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