Journal of Advanced Ceramics

Article Title

Formation of nanocrystalline graphite in polymer-derived SiCN by polymer infiltration and pyrolysis at a low temperature


polymer-derived ceramics (PDCs), silicon carbonitride (SiCN), free carbon, carbonization, dielectric property


The microstructure of polymer-derived ceramics (PDCs) was closely related to processing. This study demonstrated that SiCN matrix prepared by polymer infiltration and pyrolysis (PIP) at 900 ℃ inside a Si3N4 whisker (Si3N4w) preform with submicro-sized pores differed from its powder- consolidated analogue in both the content and structure of free carbon. Chemical analysis showed that PIP process had a higher free carbon yield. Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observation discovered a higher graphitization degree of free carbon and the existence of nanocrystalline graphite in SiCN matrix. Dielectric properties of Si3N4w/SiCN composites were greatly enhanced when volume fraction of SiCN matrix reached 24.5% due to dielectric percolation caused by highly-lossy free carbon. Reconsolidation of hydrocarbon released during pyrolysis by gas-state carbonization in Si3N4 whisker preform was supposed to account for the high yield and graphitization degree of free carbon in PIP process.