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Optimization of Phase Purity of β′‐Sialon Ceramics Produced from Silazanes and Nano‐Sized Alumina

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The use of preceramic polymers in the synthesis of Sialon ceramics has been scarcely discussed in the literature. In this article we report the production of virtually phase‐pure β′‐Sialon ceramics from a mixture of commercially available polysilazanes and γAl2O3 nanopowder, pyrolized in N2 atmosphere in the 1300°C–1600°C range. This approach combines the advantage of embedding nano‐sized fillers in preceramic polymers, in terms of their reactivity towards the SiN based ceramic pyrolysis residue, with the complex interactions with residual carbon, also present as a secondary phase in the same ceramic residue. Starting from a polymer (PSZ20) yielding a SiCN amorphous ceramic after pyrolysis, the Sialon phase purity is greatly affected by the residual C content: for an optimized polymer/filler ratio (PSZ20/Al2O3 = 2), β′‐Sialon can be produced possesing only small quantities of quasi‐amorphous SiC as a secondary phase. Additional improvements based on the partial replacement of PSZ20 with a polymer (PHPS) not containing C in the backbone, lead to the production of pure nanocrystalline β′‐Sialon powders (average grain size of 100–200 nm).
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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