Experimental data on the oxidation kinetics of SiC-containing diborides of Zr and Hf in the temperature regime of 1473–2273 K are interpreted using a mechanistic model. The model encompasses counter-current gas diffusion in the internal SiC depleted zone, oxygen permeation through borosilicate glass channels in the oxide scale, and boundary layer evaporation at the surface. The model uses available viscosity, thermodynamic and kinetic data for boria, silica, and borosilicate glasses, and a logarithmic mean approximation for compositional variations. The internal depletion region of SiC is modeled with CO/CO2 counter diffusion as the oxygen transport mechanism. Data reported for pure SiC in air/oxygen, for ZrB2 containing varying volume fractions of SiC, and for SiC–HfB2 ultra-high temperature ceramics (UHTCs) by different investigations were compared with quantitative predictions of the model. The model is found to provide good correspondence with laboratory-furnace-based experimental data for weight gain, scale thicknesses, and depletion layer thicknesses. Experimental data obtained from arc-jet tests at high enthalpies are found to fall well outside the model predictions, whereas lower enthalpy data were closer to model predictions, suggesting a transition in mechanism in the arc-jet environment.
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