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Structure-Property Relationships in Polymer Derived Amorphous/Nano-Crystalline Silicon Carbide for Nuclear Applications

[+] Author Affiliations
Suraj C. Zunjarrao, Abhishek K. Singh, Raman P. Singh

Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

Paper No. ICONE14-89515, pp. 419-425; 7 pages
  • 14th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 3: Structural Integrity; Nuclear Engineering Advances; Next Generation Systems; Near Term Deployment and Promotion of Nuclear Energy
  • Miami, Florida, USA, July 17–20, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4244-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3783-1
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Silicon carbide (SiC) is a promising candidate for several applications in nuclear reactors owing to its high thermal conductivity, high melting temperature, good chemical stability, and resistance to swelling under heavy ion bombardment. However, fabricating SiC by traditional powder processing route generally requires very high temperatures for pressureless sintering. Polymer derived ceramic materials offer unique advantages such as ability to fabricate net shaped components, incorporate reinforcements and relatively low processing temperatures. Furthermore, for SiC based ceramics fabricated using polymer infiltration process (PIP), the microstructure can be tailored by controlling the processing parameters, to get an amorphous, nanocrystalline or crystalline SiC. In this work, fabrication of polymer derived amorphous and nano-grained SiC is presented and its application as an in-core material is explored. Monolithic SiC samples are fabricated by controlled pyrolysis of allylhydridopolycarbosilane (AHPCS) under inert atmosphere. Chemical changes, phase transformations and microstructural changes occurring during the pyrolysis process are studied as a function of the processing temperature. Polymer cross-linking and polymer to ceramic conversion is studied using infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and differential thermal analysis (DTA) are performed to monitor the mass loss and phase change as a function of temperature. X-ray diffraction studies are done to study the intermediate phases and microstructural changes. Variation in density is carefully monitored as a function of processing temperature. Owing to shrinkage and gas evolution during pyrolysis, precursor derived ceramics are inherently porous and composite fabrication typically involves repeated cycles of polymer reinfiltration and pyrolysis. However, there is a limit to the densification that can be achieved by this method and porosity in the final materials presents difficulties in interpreting “true” properties from bulk measurements. Hence, hardness and modulus measurements are carried out using instrumented nanoindentation to establish property–structure relationship for SiC derived from the polymer precursor. It is seen that the presence of nanocrystalline domains in amorphous SiC significantly influences the modulus and hardness.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME
Topics: Polymers , Silicon



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