Special Reviews

Ceramic Fibers for Matrix Composites in High-Temperature Engine Applications

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Science  30 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5428, pp. 699-703
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5428.699

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High-temperature engine applications have been limited by the performance of metal alloys and carbide fiber composites at elevated temperatures. Random inorganic networks composed of silicon, boron, nitrogen, and carbon represent a novel class of ceramics with outstanding durability at elevated temperatures. SiBN3C was synthesized by pyrolysis of a preceramicN-methylpolyborosilazane made from the single-source precursor Cl3Si-NH-BCl2. The polymer can be processed to a green fiber by melt-spinning, which then undergoes an intermediate curing step and successive pyrolysis. The ceramic fibers, which are presently produced on a semitechnical scale, combine several desired properties relevant for an application in fiber-reinforced ceramic composites: thermal stability, mechanical strength, high-temperature creep resistivity, low density, and stability against oxidation or molten silicon.

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