Processing, Microstructure, and Wear Behavior of Silicon Nitride Hot‐Pressed with Alumina and Yttria

Ajoy Zutshi, Richard Haber, Dale E. Niesz, Jane W. Adams, John B. Wachtman, Mattison K. Ferber, Stephen M. Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Commercial silicon nitride powder with A12O3 and Y2O3 additives was hot‐pressed to complete density. The resulting microstructure contained elongated grains with no trace of remaining α‐Si3N4. The aspect ratio of the elongated grains increased with increasing soak time at a fixed hot‐pressing temperature. X‐ray diffraction analysis showed that the crystalline phase in the hot‐pressed samples was β‐sialon (Si6−zAlzOzN8−z) with z values that increased with soak time. The fracture strength and fracture toughness of the samples increased as the aspect ratio of the grains increased. The Vickers hardness decreased slightly as the soak time was increased, which was attributed to a grain size effect. Wear tests of silicon nitride against silicon nitride were conducted on a reciprocating pin‐on‐disk apparatus with paraffin oil as a lubricant. Correlation studies of wear with microstructure and mechanical properties were performed. The wear rate increased rapidly with increasing soak time in spite of the increased strength and toughness. This was attributed to increased third‐body wear caused by pullout of pieces from the wear surface. The pullout mechanism was not conclusively identified. However, TEM examination showed clear evidence of dislocation motion under the wear scar. Grain boundary microstresses caused by the anisotropic thermal expansion and elastic properties of the elongated grains may have contributed to the observed pullout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-890
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry

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