The effect of NbC porosity on reaction-layer microstructure in NbC|Si diffusion couples


Further experimental observations have allowed us to refine and confirm some aspects of our recently proposed mechanism for reactive diffusion between Si single crystal and NbC powder compact, particularly regarding the prediction of Si as the dominant diffusing species and the nature of the dependence of SiC particle morphology on the presence of voids in the NbC end member. In Si|NbC diffusion couples annealed at either 1300 or 1350 °C, a two-phase NbSi2 + SiC reaction layer formed. Although NbSi2 was the matrix in all of the reaction layers, the SiC phase morphology depended upon NbC porosity: when high-porosity NbC was used, SiC was present as discontinuous particles greater than 1-μm-across, while when low-porosity or void-free NbC was used, SiC grew cooperatively with NbSi2 in the form of lamellae less than 0.5 μm thick. We propose that this difference arises from the effect of voids both as nucleation sites for SiC particles and as channels for unrestricted SiC growth. Marker experiments conclusively show that Si is the dominant diffusing species in the reaction layer.

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Woodford, J., Yang, C.Y. & Chang, Y.A. The effect of NbC porosity on reaction-layer microstructure in NbC|Si diffusion couples. Journal of Materials Research 15, 248–252 (2000).

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