Intermediate temperature oxidative strength degradation of a SiC/SiNC composite with a polymer-derived matrix

David L. Poerschke, Michael N. Rossol, Frank W. Zok

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22 Scopus citations


The article describes an experimental investigation of oxidative degradation in mechanical performance of a SiC fiber-reinforced composite with a SiCN matrix produced by polymer infiltration and pyrolysis. Tensile stress rupture and retained strength tests were performed at 800°C in dry air and in water vapor. Fracture surfaces were examined to determine the degree of fiber pull-out and constituent oxidation and to measure radii of representative fiber fracture mirrors. The results indicate that degradation in tows adjacent to cut surfaces occurs equally rapidly in water vapor with or without application of stress; regions in the composite interior and near as-processed (uncut) surfaces appear far less affected. Similar effects are evident but less pronounced in dry air. Although oxidation of fiber coatings is observed in some cases, collectively the results suggest that fiber degradation is the main mechanism leading to reduced composite strength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1606-1617
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Pratt & Whitney Center of Excellence at the University of California, Santa Barbara. DP received support from NASA-funded STTR collaboration with Physical Sciences Incorporated, Contract Number N00014-14-P1129. The MRL Shared Experimental Facilities are supported by the MRSEC Program of the NSF under Award No. DMR 1121053: a member of the NSF-funded Materials Research Facilities Network ( The authors are grateful to Peter Maxwell (UCSB) for assistance with the fracture mirror analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The American Ceramic Society


  • ceramic matrix composites
  • oxidation
  • silicon carbide


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