High-Temperature Chemistry and Oxidation of ZrB2 Ceramics Containing SiC, Si3N4, Ta5Si3, and TaSi2


  • N. Jacobson—contributing editor

†Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: inna.talmy@navy.mil


The effect of Si3N4, Ta5Si3, and TaSi2 additions on the oxidation behavior of ZrB2 was characterized at 1200°–1500°C and compared with both ZrB2 and ZrB2/SiC. Significantly improved oxidation resistance of all Si-containing compositions relative to ZrB2 was a result of the formation of a protective layer of borosilicate glass during exposure to the oxidizing environment. Oxidation resistance of the Si3N4-modified ceramics increased with increasing Si3N4 content and was further improved by the addition of Cr and Ta diborides. Chromium and tantalum oxides induced phase separation in the borosilicate glass, which lead to an increase in liquidus temperature and viscosity and to a decrease in oxygen diffusivity and of boria evaporation from the glass. All tantalum silicide-containing compositions demonstrated phase separation in the borosilicate glass and higher oxidation resistance than pure ZrB2, with the effect increasing with temperature. The most oxidation-resistant ceramics contained 15 vol% Ta5Si3, 30 vol% TaSi2, 35 vol% Si3N4, or 20 vol% Si3N4 with 10 mol% CrB2. These materials exceeded the oxidation resistance of the ZrB2/SiC ceramics below 1300°–1400°C. However, the ZrB2/SiC ceramics showed slightly superior oxidation resistance at 1500°C.