MAX phase ceramics are typically prepared by the reactive sintering of elemental powders that are often coarse, expensive, and prone to oxidation. The temperature-driven dehydrogenation of metal hydride powders offers an alternative synthesis approach, as the hydrides decompose into phase-pure, dimensionally fine elemental powder particles. The increased reactivity of these in situ formed, fine powder particles drastically reduces the formation temperature of the antecedent intermetallic phases, without forming excess binary carbides or facilitating powder oxidation in the Ti-Al-C and Zr-Al-C systems. This work elucidates the effect of metal hydrides on the sequence of formation reactions in MAX phase ceramics. In the Zr-Al-C system, the use of coarse, oxidation-prone elemental Zr powders prevented MAX phase formation, whereas spark plasma sintering of ZrH2 powders at 1500 °C produced ceramics containing 60 wt% Zr3AlC2. Similarly, in the Ti-Al-C system, spark plasma sintering of TiH2 powders at 1200 °C produced phase-pure Ti3AlC2 ceramics.
|Number of pages
|Journal of the European Ceramic Society
|Early online date
|30 Sep 2022
|Published - 1 Dec 2022