Effects of Heat Treatment on SiC-SiC Ceramic Matrix Composites

Michael W Knauf, Purdue University


Residual stresses resulting from the manufacturing process found within a silicon carbide/silicon carbide (SiC/SiC) ceramic matrix composite were thoroughly investigated through the use of high-energy X-ray diffraction and Raman microspectroscopy. The material system studied was a Rolls-Royce composite produced with Hi-Nicalon fibers woven into a five harness satin weave, coated with boron nitride and silicon carbide interphases, and subsequently infiltrated with silicon carbide particles and a silicon matrix. Constituent stress states were measured before, during, and after heat treatments ranging from 900 °C to 1300 °C for varying times between one and sixty minutes. Stress determination methods developed through these analyses can be utilized in the development of ceramic matrix composites and other materials employing boron-doped silicon. X-ray diffraction experiments were performed at the Argonne National Laboratory Advanced Photon Source to investigate the evolution of constituent stresses through heat treatment, and determine how stress states are affected at high temperature through in situ measurements during heat treatments up to 1250 °C for 30 minutes. Silicon carbide particles in the as-received condition exhibited a nearly isotropic stress state with average tensile stresses of approximately 300 MPa. The silicon matrix exhibited a complimentary average compressive stress of approximately 300 MPa. Strong X-ray diffraction evidence is presented demonstrating solid state boron diffusion and increased boron solubility found in silicon throughout heat treatment. While the constituent stress states did evolve through the heat treatment cycles, including approaching nearly stress-free conditions at temperatures close to the manufacturing temperature, no permanent relaxation of stress was observed. Raman spectroscopy was utilized to investigate stresses found within silicon carbide particles embedded within the matrix and the silicon matrix as an alternate method of measurement. The stresses determined through Raman spectroscopy were comparable to those determined through X-ray diffraction. Neither silicon carbide particles nor silicon were significantly affected through heat treatment, corroborating the X-ray diffraction results. Silicon present near fibers exhibited less compressive stress than the majority of silicon found throughout the matrix. Measurements were taken in situ and ex situ to determine the temporal evolution of the stress state at various temperatures. Heat treatments up to 1300 °C for one hour failed to produce significant changes in the residual stress state of the composite constituents. A strong trend was identified in the Raman silicon signal manifesting a continuously decreasing wavenumber with increasing heat treatment temperature between 1100 °C and 1300 °C in timeframes of less than one minute. This was found to be due to a continuously increasing electronic activation of boron within the silicon matrix, stemming from an increase of boron atoms occupying substitutional silicon lattice sites while covalently bonded to surrounding silicon. A methodology to determine the residual stress state of silicon exhibiting varying degrees of boron dopant is proposed by accounting for the changes in the Raman profile parameters. This method also allows for observing activated boron segregation in various matrix areas; wavenumber gradients in these areas exist which have been misconstrued in literature as large variations in stress, while in fact the variability is likely relatively benign.




Pipes, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Aerospace engineering|Materials science

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