Extraordinary toughening enhancement and flexural strength in Si3N4 composites using graphene sheets

Cristina Ramirez, Pilar Miranzo, Manuel Belmonte, Maria Isabel Osendi, Pedro Poza, Sofia M. Vega-Diaz, Mauricio Terrones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Two types of Si3N4 composites containing graphene nanostructures using two different graphene sources, pristine graphene nanoplatelets and graphene oxide layers were produced by Spark Plasma Sintering. The maximum toughness of 10.4MPam1/2, measured by flexure testing of pre-cracked bars, was achieved for a composite (~60β/40α-Si3N4, ~300nm grain size) with 4vol.% of reduced graphene oxide, indicating a toughening enhancement of 135% when compared to a similar Si3N4. This was also accompanied by a 10% increase in flexure strength (1040MPa). For the composites with thicker graphene nanoplateletes only a 40% of toughness increase (6.6MPam1/2) without strength improvement was observed for the same filler content. The large difference in the maximum toughness values accomplished for both types of composites was attributed to variations in the graphene/Si3N4 interface characteristics and the extent of monolayer graphene exfoliation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the European Ceramic Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry


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