The crystallization kinetics of mullite formation in a diphasic precursor consisting of a silicone resin filled with commercial γ-alumina nanoparticles (15 nm mean particle size, specific surface area of 100 m 2/g), heated in air from 1250° to 1350°C, was studied by X-ray diffraction. Transitional γ-alumina and amorphous silica from the pyrolysis of the preceramic polymer exhibited a remarkable reactivity, as demonstrated by a very low incubation time (from 500 s at 1250°C to 20 s at 1350°C), a high mullite yield (about 80 vol%, after 100 s at 1350°C), and a low activation energy for nucleation (677±60 kJ/mol). The activation energy values found were lower than those reported previously for other diphasic systems, including sol-gel precursors. Besides the high specific surface of nanosized γ-alumina particles, the low energy barrier could be attributed to the highly reactive silica deriving from the oxidation of Si-CH3 bonds in the silicone and to the homogeneous dispersion of the nanosized filler inside the preceramic polymer. Furthermore, the possibility of applying plastic shaping processing methods to the mixture of a preceramic polymer and nanosized filler makes this approach particularly valuable, in comparison, for instance, with sol-gel based alternatives.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ceramics and Composites
- Materials Chemistry