The oxidation behavior and the effect of oxidation on the flexural strength of Si3N4/SiC nanocomposites were investigated. Parabolic weight gains, with respect to the oxidation time, were observed for all the specimens containing different amounts of SiC. However, the parabolic rate constant decreased with increasing SiC content. The main oxidation product, being in equilibrium with SiO2, was Y2Si2O7. The oxidation product became denser and retained more crystalline phase as the amount of SiC increased. The flexural strength of the nanocomposites increased by up to 40%, while that of pure Si3N4 decreased after oxidation at 1300 or 1400 %C for 100 h. This excellent oxidation resistance of Si3N4 nanocomposite was attributed to the enhancement of the crystallization of the oxidation product and the grain boundary phase by the SiC nanoparticles.
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