Synthesis and characterization of ceramics in the Ti-B-N-C system
Titanium and boron nitride and carbide, titanium diboride were synthesized by carbothermic reduction as single phase as well as mixtures intended to form composite materials. The aim of the project is to study the physical chemistry of carbothermic reduction for the production of pure nonoxide ceramic powders and also for the in-situ formation of ceramic/ceramic partially-densified composites. The thermodynamic and kinetic factors that govern the phase constituents are discussed and the effect of processing parameters on the morphology and extent of reduction are also established. The first part of the present investigation is aimed at the production of titanium nitride, carbonitride and carbide powders and the in-situ formation of TiN/TiC partially-densified composites by the carbothermic reduction of titania in suitable nitriding atmospheres. The investigation includes the aspects of the thermodynamics and kinetics of the nitriding reaction and points out the reaction mechanism by identifying the phase formed after the nitridation process. The microstructures produced after the reduction-nitridation process have been correlated with the thermodynamic and kinetic parameters. The synthesized titanium nitride powder was identified as the carbonitride phase, Ti(CxN1_x), having a range of composition. The rate of reduction of TbO2 was found to be determined by the rate of oxygen diffusion in the sub-oxide lattice and the derived value of activation energy in the temperature range 1473K to 1773K from the Arrhenius plot is 120 kJ-mole-1 of T102. TI305 was found as a high temperature precursor phase for the formation of titanium nitride. The use of iron chloride as catalyst and activated charcoal in the mixtures of oxide increased the yield of titanium nitride phase by enhancing the rate of reduction of titanium oxides. The morphology of titanium carbonitride particles was dependent upon the reactivity of carbon and the temperature. The calculated equilibrium phase fields were found to be in agreement with the experimental data and provide a means to select the variables for the reduction condition for designing a required ceramic microstructure. The microstructure of boron nitrides is closely related to the structural chemistry of carbon and nitriding agent. The main aim of the second part of the project was to synthesize boron nitride and carbide powders and whiskers by carbothermic reduction of boric anhydride (6203) in nitrogen atmosphere and also to understand a relation between the processing parameters and the phases produced. The effect of processing conditions such as the gas composition, reactivity of carbon, reaction temperature and time as well as the composition of starting materials on the synthesis of boron nitride and carbide phases were studied. The reactivity of carbon, B/C ratio and gas composition were the most important variables that determined the formation, structure and morphology of the nitride. During the nitridation process, boron carbide phase also formed and played a significant role. The investigation also reports the evidence for the formation of metastable forms of BN i. e wurtzite and cubic BN. We also report the results of the solubility of nitrogen in C-saturated B4C structure. The third part of the present work is aimed at the production of TiB2 powders. Aspects of the formation of two or three ceramic phase mixtures were also examined together with the relative stability of the single phase mixed diborides with respect to pure diboride phase. The central aim of this part is to establish the mechanism of the synthesis reaction leading to the formation of uniform size of titanium diboride crystals. Titanium boride (TiB2) powder was produced in the powder form by the reduction of ingredient oxides with carbon via a gas-solid phase reaction. For the production of the composite microstructure, the nitrogen partial pressure was found to be the most critical factor. In the composite microstructure, the titanium nitride particles have a submicrometer size whereas the boride particle size is only a few micrometers with predominantly hexagonal morphology. Some calculated equilibrium phase fields have been experimentally verified. The empirical verification is a useful tool to establish the correctness of the calculated phase diagram. The theoretical approach therefore enables to identify the condition for the formation of phase mixtures. The constituent phases depend on the reduction conditions. For example, nitrides in equilibrium with Ti62 can only form above a critical nitrogen partial pressure whereas TiC or B4C form in the inert atmospheres. This result is applicable to all other ceramics. The investigation also shows the viability of production of the composite powder mixture via the oxide co-reduction technique. The synthesis of TIB2/TiN, TiB2ýC, TB2/TN/BN and mixed diboride composites is possible by employing the reduction route.