Engineered nanostructures for multifunctional single-walled carbon nanotube reinforced silicon nitride nanocomposites

Erica L. Corral, Joseph Cesarano, Amit Shyam, Edgar Lara-Curzio, Nelson Bell, John Stuecker, Nicola Perry, Matthew Di Prima, Zuhair Munir, Javier Garay, Enrique V. Barrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Colloidal processing was used to make highly dispersed aqueous composite suspensions containing single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) and Si 3N4 particles. The SWNTs and Si3N4 particles were stabilized into composite suspensions using a cationic surfactant at low pH values. Bulk nanocomposites containing 1.0, 2.0, and 6.0 vol% SWNTs were successfully fabricated using rapid prototyping. The survival of SWNTs was detected, using Raman spectroscopy, after high-temperature sintering, up to 1800°C. The nanocomposites have densities up to 97% of the composite theoretical density. The engineered nanostructures reveal an increase in grindability and damage tolerance behavior over the monolithic ceramic. We also observed toughening mechanisms such as SWNT crack bridging and pull-out, indicating that SWNTs have the potential to serve as toughening agents in ceramics. Increased fracture toughness values over the monolithic Si 3N4 were observed for the 2.0-vol% SWNT-Si 3N4 nanocomposite when a given sintered microstructure was present. We report here the effects of colloidal processing on mechanical behavior of SWNT reinforced nonoxide ceramic nanocomposites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3129-3137
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry


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