3D Periodic and Interpenetrating Tungsten–Silicon Oxycarbide Nanocomposites Designed for Mechanical Robustness

Zhao Wang, Kevin M. Schmalbach, R. Lee Penn, David Poerschke, Antonia Antoniou, Nathan A. Mara, Andreas Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Metal-ceramic nanocomposites exhibit exceptional mechanical properties with a combination of high strength, toughness, and hardness that are not achievable in monolithic metals or ceramics, which make them valuable for applications in fields such as the aerospace and automotive industries. In this study, interpenetrating nanocomposites of three-dimensionally ordered macroporous (3DOM) tungsten-silicon oxycarbide (W-SiOC) were prepared, and their mechanical properties were investigated. In these nanocomposites, the crystalline tungsten and amorphous silicon oxycarbide phases both form continuous and interpenetrating networks, with some discrete free carbon nanodomains. The W-SiOC material inherits the periodic structure from its 3DOM W matrix, and this periodic structure can be maintained up to 1000 °C. In situ SEM micropillar compression tests demonstrated that the 3DOM W-SiOC material could sustain a maximum average stress of 1.1 GPa, a factor of 22 greater than that of the 3DOM W matrix, resulting in a specific strength of 640 MPa/(Mg/m3) at 30 °C. Deformation behavior of the developed 3DOM nanocomposite in a wide temperature range (30-575 °C) was investigated. The deformation mode of 3DOM W-SiOC exhibited a transition from fracture-dominated deformation at low temperatures to plastic deformation above 425 °C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32126-32135
Number of pages10
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number27
StateE-pub ahead of print - Jul 2 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported primarily by the MRSEC Program of the National Science Foundation under Award Number DMR-1420013. Parts of this work were carried out in the University of Minnesota Characterization Facility, which receives partial support from the NSF through the MRSEC program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Chemical Society.


  • High-temperature mechanical behavior
  • interpenetrating metal-ceramic composite
  • micropillar compression
  • strength
  • three-dimensionally ordered macroporous material

How much support was provided by MRSEC?

  • Primary

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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