In-Situ Synthesis Of A12O3_ZrO2_SiCw Ceramic Matrix Composites By Carbothermal Reduction Of Natural Silicates
This thesis outlines the work done on in-situ synthesis of Al2O3-ZrO2-SiCw ceramic composites and their property evaluation. The introductory chapter deals with the literature survey on ceramic matrix composites, properties desirable for structural applications and toughening mechanisms associated with these composites. The role of whisker toughening in ceramic matrix composites, the growth mechanisms involved in whisker growth and the conditions that favour or hamper the whisker growth are also discussed. The advantages and disadvantages of in-situ synthesis of composites as compared to physical mixing are also dealt with. The objective and scope of the work undertaken are outlined at the end. The second chapter describes the experimental techniques associated with carbothermal synthesis and characterisation of reaction products as well as properties of hot pressed bulk composites. The equipments used for this work are described here. The third chapter focuses on the results obtained by the carbothermal reduction of mixtures of kaolin, sillimanite and zircon taken in various proportions. The formation of the product phases with respect to variations in temperature, variations in composition and effect of catalyst is analysed with the help of XRD while their morphology is analysed using SEM. The conditions favouring the formation of tetragonal zirconia without the addition of stabilizers is also enumerated here. The fourth chapter deals with the compaction of these composite powders and the evaluation of some physical, thermal and mechanical properties. Density and porosity, coefficient of thermal expansion, modulus of rupture and fracture toughness of the composite specimens are evaluated and compared with binary and ternary composites made by other methods. Finally the thesis concludes by summarizing the work done and briefly projecting the areas for future work.