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Article

Microstructure and Fracture Mechanism Investigation of Porous Silicon Nitride–Zirconia–Graphene Composite Using Multi-Scale and In-Situ Microscopy

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Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS, Maria-Reiche-Straße 2, 01109 Dresden, Germany
2
Centre for Energy Research, Konkoly-Thege Str. 29-33, 1121 Budapest, Hungary
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Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS, Winterbergstraße 28, 01277 Dresden, Germany
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Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, Albert-Einstein-Straße 15, 12489 Berlin, Germany
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Institute of Materials Research, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Watsonova 47, 040 01 Košice, Slovakia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Babak Anasori
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(2), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11020285
Received: 8 December 2020 / Revised: 19 January 2021 / Accepted: 20 January 2021 / Published: 22 January 2021
Silicon nitride–zirconia–graphene composites with high graphene content (5 wt.% and 30 wt.%) were sintered by gas pressure sintering (GPS). The effect of the multilayer graphene (MLG) content on microstructure and fracture mechanism is investigated by multi-scale and in-situ microscopy. Multi-scale microscopy confirms that the phases disperse evenly in the microstructure without obvious agglomeration. The MLG flakes well dispersed between ceramic matrix grains slow down the phase transformation from α to β-Si3N4, subsequent needle-like growth of β-Si3N4 rods and the densification due to the reduction in sintering additives particularly in the case with 30 wt.% MLG. The size distribution of Si3N4 phase shifts towards a larger size range with the increase in graphene content from 5 to 30 wt.%, while a higher graphene content (30 wt.%) hinders the growth of the ZrO2 phase. The composite with 30 wt.% MLG has a porosity of 47%, the one with 5 wt.% exhibits a porosity of approximately 30%. Both Si3N4/MLG composites show potential resistance to contact or indentation damage. Crack initiation and propagation, densification of the porous microstructure, and shift of ceramic phases are observed using in-situ transmission electron microscopy. The crack propagates through the ceramic/MLG interface and through both the ceramic and the non-ceramic components in the composite with low graphene content. However, the crack prefers to bypass ceramic phases in the composite with 30 wt.% MLG. View Full-Text
Keywords: porous ceramic composite; high graphene content; GPS; multi-scale microscopy; in-situ microscopy; contact-damage resistance porous ceramic composite; high graphene content; GPS; multi-scale microscopy; in-situ microscopy; contact-damage resistance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Liao, Z.; Standke, Y.; Gluch, J.; Balázsi, K.; Pathak, O.; Höhn, S.; Herrmann, M.; Werner, S.; Dusza, J.; Balázsi, C.; Zschech, E. Microstructure and Fracture Mechanism Investigation of Porous Silicon Nitride–Zirconia–Graphene Composite Using Multi-Scale and In-Situ Microscopy. Nanomaterials 2021, 11, 285. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11020285

AMA Style

Liao Z, Standke Y, Gluch J, Balázsi K, Pathak O, Höhn S, Herrmann M, Werner S, Dusza J, Balázsi C, Zschech E. Microstructure and Fracture Mechanism Investigation of Porous Silicon Nitride–Zirconia–Graphene Composite Using Multi-Scale and In-Situ Microscopy. Nanomaterials. 2021; 11(2):285. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11020285

Chicago/Turabian Style

Liao, Zhongquan, Yvonne Standke, Jürgen Gluch, Katalin Balázsi, Onkar Pathak, Sören Höhn, Mathias Herrmann, Stephan Werner, Ján Dusza, Csaba Balázsi, and Ehrenfried Zschech. 2021. "Microstructure and Fracture Mechanism Investigation of Porous Silicon Nitride–Zirconia–Graphene Composite Using Multi-Scale and In-Situ Microscopy" Nanomaterials 11, no. 2: 285. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11020285

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