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Self-propagating High Temperature Synthesis

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Materials, components & process engineering

Self-propagating High Temperature Synthesis (SHS)

Using in-situ neutron diffraction we traced the reaction mechanism during the self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS) of Ti3SiC2 from furnace-ignited stoichiometric Ti/SiC/C mixtures (thermal explosion mode).

The diffraction patterns indicated five stages: pre-heating of the reactants, the phase transformation in Ti, pre-ignition reactions, the formation of a single solid intermediate phase in less than 0.9 s, and the rapid nucleation and growth of the product phase Ti3SiC2.
The phase transformation in Ti is a necessary precursor to the reaction, as is the subsequent reaction of Ti and C just before SHS ignition. This latter process is exothermic and provides the extra heat required for sustained SHS to occur. No amorphous contribution to the diffraction patterns from a liquid phase was detected.
As such, it is unlikely that a liquid phase plays an important role in this SHS reaction. The intermediate phase is a solid solution of Si in TiC, such that the overall stoichiometry is approximately Ti3SiC2.
Lattice parameters and known thermal expansion data were used to estimate the ignition temperature at 901±8 C and the combustion temperature at 2320±50 C.

Riley et al., J.Am.Ceram.Soc. 91 (2008) 3207.