Reactive Melt Infiltration of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Ceramic Composites for Ultra-High Temperature Applications

Reactive Melt Infiltration of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Ceramic Composites for Ultra-High Temperature Applications

Bai Shuxin (National University of Defense Technology, China), Tong Yonggang (National University of Defense Technology, China), Ye Yicong (National University of Defense Technology, China) and Zhang Hong (National University of Defense Technology, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4066-5.ch011
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Abstract

Carbon fiber reinforced ultra high temperature ceramic matrix composite (C/UHTC) is one of the most promising structural materials capable of prolonged operation in oxidizing environment at ultra high temperatures above 2000 ?C. Reactive melt infiltration (RMI) is a viable processing choice for C/UHTC composite. Compared with chemical vapor infiltration (CVI) and polymer impregnation and pyrolysis (PIP), RMI does not suffer from the drawbacks of time-consuming and high cost. It is viewed as a promising means of achieving near-net shape manufacturing with quick processing time and at low cost. Recently, great efforts have been made on RMI process for C/UHTC composite. Carbon fiber reinforced ZrC, HfC and TiC composites have been successfully fabricated by RMI. The aim of the following chapter is to introduce the RMI process and summarize the progress in RMI process for C/UHTC composite. In addition, future research directions of RMI are also proposed.
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Introduction

Ultra-high temperature ceramics (UHTCs) are the most promising materials that could be used in oxidizing environments at temperatures over 2000°C. The most widely studied UHTCs are refractory borides and carbides, such as ZrB2, HfB2, ZrC, HfC, TaC and TiC. These materials have been considered to have a great potential to use in thermal protection systems and propulsion systems for hypersonic flight vehicles or reentry vehicles, owing to their unique properties (shown in Table 1 [Justin et al., 2011]) of high melting point, high hardness and excellent corrosion resistance (Tripp et al., 1973; Hinze et al., 1975; Han et al., 2008). A number of government facilities, as well as universities, have devoted to the research of UHTCs. HfC, ZrC, ZrB2 and HfB2 are the mostly studied UHTCs, which are considered to be potential candidate for sharp leading edge and some other high temperature ablation-resistant components (Kolodziej et al., 1997). During the past years, numerous of work has been focused on the material design (Monteverde et al., 2002; Opeka et al., 2004), densification (Zhang et al., 2002; Qu et al., 2008) and property evaluation of these materials (Levine et al., 2002) and great achievements have been received.

Table 1.
Properties of some ultra high temperature ceramics form (Justin et al., 2011)
MaterialCrystal StructureDensity (g/cm3)Melting Point (°C)
HfCFace-centered cubic12.763900
ZrCFace-centered cubic6.563400
HfB2Hexagonal11.23380
ZrB2Hexagonal6.13245
TiCCubic4.943100
TaCCubic14.503800

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