Carbon/carbon (C/C) composites containing zirconium carbide (ZrC) were prepared by a novel method. Carbon fiber felt with addition of zirconia was prepared by a microwave-hydrothermal reaction, followed by densification and graphitization. The crystalline structure of the pyrolytic carbon and morphology of the composites were investigated by X-ray diffraction, Raman spectrascope, polarized light microscope, and scanning electron microscopy. Results show that the ZrC grains with sub-micron size present a homogeneous distribution in carbon matrix. The degree of order of the pyrolytic carbon matrix is decreased due to adding ZrC into the C/C composites. Graphitization degree of the C/C composites is decreased by the addition of ZrC. ZrC grains uniformly embedded in the pyrolytic carbon matrix act as pinning particles blocking the conversion of disordered to ordered structure during graphitization. Thermal conductivity is higher in the C/C composites containing ZrC, which is attributed to the increased phonon-defect interaction produced by the thermal motion of the CO in the micropores and gaps of the composites.
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This research was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant Nos. 50832004 and 50972120, and the Program of Introducing Talents of Discipline to University under Grant No. B08040. And financially support by National “973” Project of the People’s Republic of China, under Grant No. 2011CB605806.