The influence of iron on the preparation of silicon nitride from silica
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The thermodynamics of carbothermal reduction and nitriding of silica in the temperature range 1200 to 1600° C have been evaluated and may be used to determine the conditions required to form silicon nitride, silicon oxynitride or silicon carbide. The products of reaction are, however, frequently dictated by kinetic rather than thermodynamic considerations and the presence of impurities in the silica and carbon reactants is especially important. α-silicon nitride has been prepared from high purity silica and carbon but under identical conditions of temperature and nitrogen pressure the chemistry of the process changes markedly when a small amount of iron is added to the reactants. Below 1320° C iron has no effect and pure α-silicon nitride is formed but with increasing temperature the proportion of silicon carbide in the product increases. Above 1550° C silicon carbide is the stable solid phase in the Si-C-O-N system at 1 atm pressure. The process chemistry has been investigated by high-temperature reaction studies and X-ray diffraction and reaction mechanisms are proposed on the basis of microstructural observations of reactants and products.
KeywordsNitride Silicon Carbide Silicon Nitride Fume Silica Excess Carbon
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