Low-Temperature Processing of ZrB2-ZrC Composites by Reactive Hot Pressing
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Dense ZrB2-ZrC and ZrB2-ZrCx∼0.67 composites have been produced by reactive hot pressing (RHP) of stoichiometric and nonstoichiometric mixtures of Zr and B4C powders at 40 MPa and temperatures up to 1600 °C for 30 minutes. The role of Ni addition on reaction kinetics and densification of the composites has been studied. Composites of ∼97 pct relative density (RD) have been produced with the stoichiometric mixture at 1600 °C, while the composite with ∼99 pct RD has been obtained with excess Zr at 1200 °C, suggesting the formation of carbon deficient ZrCx that significantly aids densification by plastic flow and vacancy diffusion mechanism. Stoichiometric and nonstoichiometric composites have a hardness of ∼20 GPa. The grain sizes of ZrB2 and ZrCx∼0.67 are ∼0.6 and 0.4 μm, respectively, which are finer than those reported in the literature.