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Low-Temperature Formation of Ultra-High-Temperature Transition Metal Carbides from Salt–Polymer Precursors

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Refractory transition metal carbides were produced via carbothermal reduction of transition metal halides in a polymer precursor at low temperatures (<1200°C). This approach was used to generate TaC (Tm=3883°C), NbC (Tm=3610°C), and WC (Tm=2870°C) from TaBr5, NbBr5, and WCl4/WCl6, respectively. Solubility of transition metal halides and polymers in the same organic solvents allows for intimate mixing on the molecular level, which reduces the synthesis temperature. Greater than 90% TaC conversion was achieved by exposing a 50:50 weight ratio mixture of TaBr5 and polyimide (or polystyrene) to 1200°C for 1 h. Even at temperatures as low as 1000°C, the major product remains TaC. The ability to process these high-temperature materials so simply, and at relatively low temperatures, makes them accessible for different applications requiring thermal protection such as coatings for metallic components of hypersonic aircraft, rocket engine components, fibers, or refractory containers.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Materials Science and Engineering Program, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-3003 2: Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-3122 3: Department of Aerospace Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-3141

Publication date: August 1, 2010

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