A transition metal (e.g., Ru3 (CO)12, Pt/C) catalyzed process for Si-N bond formation is discussed that provides a new route to mono-, oligo-, and polysilazanes. The catalysts function by activating Si-H bonds in the pres-ence of ammonia. Polymeric silazanes can also be produced from oligomers in the presence of ammonia at low temperatures. This method allows us to control or modify the composition of the polysilazane during or after the polymeriza-tion. A variety of polysilazanes were prepared and converted to Si3 N4 with ceramic yields ranging from 55%-85%. By varying the monomers and reaction conditions, we can control the nitrogen and carbon content in the preceramic polymers, which enables us to obtain ceramic products that are primarily Si3N4and simultaneously minimizes the coproduction of SiC and C.