Pulsed-power volume-heating chemical vapor infiltration

Abstract

The dynamic behavior of a novel chemical vapor infiltration (CVI) technique called pulsed-power volume-heating CVI is investigated using a diffusion-reaction model. In this technique, a volume-heating source (e.g., RF or microwave) is used to heat the preform. The source power is modulated in time (e.g., square-wave modulation) with a specific period and duty cycle. During the low-power part of the cycle, the temperature of the composite drops, reducing the reaction rate and thus allowing the precursor gas to diffuse into the composite, essentially “refilling” the composite. This alleviates reactant concentration gradients within the composite minimizing density nonuniformities. The high-power part of the cycle is used to achieve rapid reaction rates, thereby minimizing processing time. CVI of a carbon fiber preform with carbon resulting from methane decomposition is taken as an example to illustrate the technique. The results reveal the dependence of density uniformity and processing time on relevant variables such as pulse period, duty cycle, power density level, and methane mole fraction. It is shown that pulsed-power volume-heating CVI can provide a window of operating conditions leading to rapid and complete densification.

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Correspondence to Demetre J. Economou.

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Morell, J.I., Economou, D.J. & Amundson, N.R. Pulsed-power volume-heating chemical vapor infiltration. Journal of Materials Research 7, 2447–2457 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1557/JMR.1992.2447

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