, Volume 47, Issue 10, pp 4211-4235
Date: 08 Dec 2011

A review of the processing, composition, and temperature-dependent mechanical and thermal properties of dielectric technical ceramics

Abstract

The current review uses the material requirements of a new space propulsion device, the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR®) as a basis for presenting the temperature-dependent properties of a range of dielectric ceramics, but data presented could be used in the engineering design of any ceramic component with complementary material requirements. A material is required for the gas containment tube (GCT) of VASIMR® to allow it to operate at higher power levels. The GCT’s operating conditions place severe constraints on the choice of material. An electrically-insulating material is required with a high-thermal conductivity, low-dielectric loss factor, and high-thermal shock resistance. There is a lack of a representative set of temperature-dependent material property data for materials considered for this application and these are required for accurate thermo-structural modelling. This modelling would facilitate the selection of an optimum material for this component. The goal of this article is to determine the best material property data values for use in the materials selection and design of such components. A review of both experimentally and theoretically determined temperature-dependent and room temperature properties of several materials has been undertaken. Data extracted are presented by property. Properties reviewed are density, Young’s, bulk and shear moduli, Poisson’s ratio, tensile, flexural and compressive strength, thermal conductivity, specific heat capacity, thermal expansion coefficient, and the factors affecting maximum service temperature. Materials reviewed are alumina, aluminium nitride, beryllia, fused quartz, sialon, and silicon nitride.