Refractory diboride with silicon carbide additive has a unique oxide scale microstructure with two condensed oxide phases (solid+liquid), and demonstrates oxidation resistance superior to either monolithic diboride or silicon carbide. We rationalize that this is because the silica-rich liquid phase can retreat outward to remove the high SiO gas volatility region, while still holding onto the zirconia skeleton mechanically by capillary forces, to form a “solid pillars, liquid roof ” scale architecture and maintain barrier function. Basic assessment of the oxygen carriers in the borosilicate liquid in oxygen-rich condition is performed using first-principles calculations. It is estimated from entropy and mobility arguments that above a critical temperature TC∼1500°C, the dominant oxygen carriers should be network defects, such as peroxyl linkage or oxygen-deficient centers, instead of molecular O2* as in the Deal–Grove model. These network defects will lead to sublinear dependence of the oxidation rate with external oxygen partial pressure. The present work suggests that there could be significant room in improving the high-temperature oxidation resistance by refining the oxide scale microstructure as well as controlling the glass chemistry.
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