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Materials 2016, 9(6), 489; doi:10.3390/ma9060489

Processing, Mechanical and Optical Properties of Additive-Free ZrC Ceramics Prepared by Spark Plasma Sintering

1
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica, Chimica e dei Materiali, Unità di Ricerca del Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per la Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali (INSTM)—Università degli Studi di Cagliari, via Marengo 2, Cagliari 09123, Italy
2
ISTEC-CNR, Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics, Via Granarolo 64, Faenza 48018, Italy
3
Corrosion and Metallurgy Study Centre “Aldo Daccò”, Engineering Department, University of Ferrara, G. Saragat 4a, Ferrara 44122, Italy
4
INO-CNR, National Institute of Optics, Largo E. Fermi, 6, Firenze 50125, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eugene A. Olevsky
Received: 21 April 2016 / Revised: 23 May 2016 / Accepted: 9 June 2016 / Published: 18 June 2016
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Abstract

In the present study, nearly fully dense monolithic ZrC samples are produced and broadly characterized from microstructural, mechanical and optical points of view. Specifically, 98% dense products are obtained by Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) after 20 min dwell time at 1850 °C starting from powders preliminarily prepared by Self-propagating High-temperature Synthesis (SHS) followed by 20 min ball milling. A prolonged mechanical treatment up to 2 h of SHS powders does not lead to appreciable benefits. Vickers hardness of the resulting samples (17.5 ± 0.4 GPa) is reasonably good for monolithic ceramics, but the mechanical strength (about 250 MPa up to 1000 °C) could be further improved by suitable optimization of the starting powder characteristics. The very smoothly polished ZrC specimen subjected to optical measurements displays high absorption in the visible-near infrared region and low thermal emittance at longer wavelengths. Moreover, the sample exhibits goodspectral selectivity (2.1–2.4) in the 1000–1400 K temperature range. These preliminary results suggest that ZrC ceramics produced through the two-step SHS/SPS processing route can be considered as attractive reference materials for the development of innovative solar energy absorbers. View Full-Text
Keywords: Spark Plasma Sintering; self-propagating high-temperature synthesis; ultra-high-temperature-ceramics; carbides; mechanical properties; optical properties Spark Plasma Sintering; self-propagating high-temperature synthesis; ultra-high-temperature-ceramics; carbides; mechanical properties; optical properties
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Musa, C.; Licheri, R.; Orrù, R.; Cao, G.; Sciti, D.; Silvestroni, L.; Zoli, L.; Balbo, A.; Mercatelli, L.; Meucci, M.; Sani, E. Processing, Mechanical and Optical Properties of Additive-Free ZrC Ceramics Prepared by Spark Plasma Sintering. Materials 2016, 9, 489.

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