Aligned Carbon Nanotube-Reinforced Silicon Carbide Composites Produced by Chemical Vapor Infiltration

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A chemical vapor infiltration (CVI) technique was used to overcome most of the challenges involved in fabricating exceptionally-tough CNT/SiC composites. Nanotube pullout and sequential breaking and slippage of the walls of the CNTs during failure were consistently observed for all fractured CNT/SiC samples. These energy absorbing mechanisms result in the fracture strength of the CNT/SiC composites about an order of magnitude higher than the bulk SiC. The CVI-fabricated CNT/SiC composites have an strongly-bonded tube/matrix interface and an amorphous, crack-free SiC matrix, enabling the composites to withstand oxidization at 700–1600 °C in air.