The new study supports the microstructural design of carbon/carbon composites

Recently, the Key Laboratory of Green Preparation and Surface Technology of Advanced Metal Materials of the Ministry of Education of Anhui University of Technology published the latest research results of rare earth nanowire modified carbon/carbon composites in the international authoritative journal Corrosion Science. Professor Deng Hailiang of the School of Materials Science of the university is the first author and corresponding author, Professor Li Kezhi of Northwestern Polytechnical University is the co-corresponding author, and Anhui University of Technology is the first unit of the paper.

Carbon/carbon (C/C) composites, or carbon fiber-reinforced carbon matrix composites, are the material of choice for rocket engine nozzles and re-entry space vehicle heat protection systems, which need to withstand ablation and erosion of ultra-high temperature hypersonic gas particle streams, as well as severe vibrations caused by thrust vector adjustments. Therefore, the mechanical and ablation resistance of the material are the key factors in the advanced and reliable power system and aircraft. The use of one-dimensional ultra-high temperature nanomaterials to assist in strengthening the matrix and fiber/matrix interface is one of the effective ways to improve the service performance of C/C composites.

Partial microstructure photographs.  Courtesy of Anhui University of Technology

Based on the unique physicochemical properties of rare earth cerium and the high melting point of its carbides and oxides, the research team uniformly dispersed rare earth cerium to the surface of carbon fibers, prepared nanofilament carbon (NFC) and CeC2 nanowire @NFC core shell structure network enhanced C/C composites by chemical vapor phase osmosis, and while improving mechanics and 3000°C ablation performance, studied the in situ growth mechanism and carbon matrix structure evolution of NFC and CeC2 nanowire @NFC, and analyzed the reasons for the improvement of mechanical properties The thermochemical oxidation process of CeC2 and carbon was calculated and discussed from the thermodynamic point of view, and the role of nanowire reinforcement networks in improving the high-temperature ablation of C/C composites was elucidated. This research work can provide support for the microstructural design of high strength and ablation resistance of C/C composites, and also has great significance for the expansion of rare earth elements to high-performance carbon materials.

The research has been funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Equipment Pre-research Fund, and the Major Natural Science Research Project of Universities in Anhui Province. (Source: China Science Daily, Zheng Cai, Chen Bin)

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