Cubic silicon carbide (3C-SiC) nanostructures such as needle- and Y-shaped nanowhiskers, smooth and pagoda-shaped nanorods are synthesized on a large scale from activated carbon and silicon powders at 1250 °C under atmospheric pressure. The use of ball-milled silicon powders results in the formation of nanowires and nanowhiskers, whereas non-milled silicon powders lead to nanorods together with unreacted silicon powders. Residual oxygen in the growth chamber initiates the carburization reactions which can proceed without further oxygen consumption. The size and morphology of the as-synthesized 3C-SiC nanostructures are observed to be related to the size and morphology of the starting silicon particles. An oxygen-assisted gas–solid model is proposed to explain the observed nanostructures.
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