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Oxidation of silicon carbide and the formation of silica polymorphs

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 March 2011

Maxime J-F. Guinel
Affiliation:
Washington State University, School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Pullman, Washington 99164-2920
M. Grant Norton
Affiliation:
Washington State University, School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Pullman, Washington 99164-2920
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Abstract

The oxidation of both single crystal and relatively pure polycrystalline silicon carbide, between 973 and 2053 K, resulted in the formation of cristobalite, quartz, or tridymite, which are the stable crystalline polymorphs of silica (SiO2) at ambient pressure. The oxide scales were found to be pure SiO2 with no contamination resulting from the oxidizing environment. The only variable affecting the occurrence of a specific polymorph was the oxidation temperature. Cristobalite was formed at temperatures ≥1673 K, tridymite between 1073 and 1573 K, and quartz formed at 973 K. The polymorphs were determined using electron diffraction in a transmission electron microscope. These results were further confirmed using infrared and Raman spectroscopies. Cristobalite was observed to grow in a spherulitic fashion from amorphous silica. This was not the case for tridymite and quartz, which appeared to grow as oriented crystalline films. The presence of a thin silicon oxycarbide interlayer was detected at the interface between the SiC substrate and the crystalline silica using x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

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Copyright © Materials Research Society 2006

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