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Title: Microwave synthesis and mechanistic examination of the transition metal carbides
Author: Vallance, Simon
ISNI:       0000 0004 2683 9592
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis aims to describe the ultra-rapid synthesis of a number of important transition metal carbides as well as investigating their reaction mechanisms. 4 binary systems are discussed; Nb-C, Mo-C, Ta-C and W-C, and work carried out on the ternary system, Nb-Ta-C, is also evaluated. Carbide production was investigated from both the oxide and elemental precursors. Ultra-rapid synthesis has been achieved through the development of a reproducible experimental technique and the investigation into a plethora of reaction variables as well as microwave applicators and powers. This resulted in, specifically within the single mode cavity, the completion of the majority of reactions within 20 s. Further development was then built upon the direct relationship observed between phase fraction results (obtained from Powder X-ray Diffraction (PXD) data), in-situ temperature and ex-situ dielectric property measurements; allowing reaction profiles of the various carbides to be mapped, as well as a crucial understanding of the effects of microwave energy on materials at various temperatures. Powder Neutron Diffraction (PND) was also used to evaluate product purity and the C occupancy of the final products, revealing non-stoichiometry which relates directly to the Tc onset observed for the superconducting transition metal carbides. This, in turn, allowed the trends observed for the ternary carbides to be explained, a linear trend does not exist between Tc and C occupancy. In an effort to develop on the understanding of solid state microwave heating, in-situ reaction monitoring techniques were investigated. Through the use of thermal imaging and high speed photography, the W-C system was observed during the crucial initial stages of the reaction process. The information obtained both corroborated previously collected data and allowed a possible reaction mechanism to be alluded to. The observation of localised heating, prior to the beginning of carbide formation, suggests possible high temperatures far exceeding those observed by optical pyrometry. This could well explain the rapid reaction times as well as suggest an interaction mechanism between carbon, an efficient microwave absorber, and tungsten, a low dielectric loss metal.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TP Chemical technology ; TN Mining engineering. Metallurgy