Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 29, Issue 17, pp 4420–4430 | Cite as

The surface chemistry of silicon nitride powder in the presence of dissolved ions

  • V. A. Hackley
  • S. G. Malghan


Colloidal processing of silicon nitride (Si3N4) powders depends largely on the control of reactions at the solid-solution interface. The role of dissolved ions in the surface chemistry of Si3N4 powders has been investigated, and the implications of these results for the effects of impurities, contaminants and additives in processing are discussed. The interaction of ions at the solid-solution interface was characterized by particle electrokinetic behaviour determined from electroacoustic measurements in moderately concentrated suspensions. Ions were classified according to chemical similarity and surface specificity. Specific adsorption was inferred from the movement of the isoelectric point relative to the endemic “native” value. Most simple univalent electrolytes behaved indifferently towards the Si3N4 surface, with the exception of fluoride which specifically adsorbed and may have formed a strong complex with surface silicon sites. The alkaline-earth cations exhibited a similar weak specificity. In the presence of hydrolysable transition metal cations, powder surface chemistry was controlled by the adsorption of hydroxy metal complexes and by the solubility of a surface-precipitated metal hydroxide phase. Oxo anions, such as sulphate and carbonate, adsorbed specifically on the Si3N4 surface, but the interactions were weaker than previously observed on metal oxide surfaces.


Surface Chemistry Silicon Nitride Metal Hydroxide Transition Metal Cation Metal Oxide Surface 
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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. A. Hackley
    • 1
  • S. G. Malghan
    • 1
  1. 1.Ceramics DivisionNational Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA

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