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hafnium carbonitride is an advanced ceramic that has a high melting point and good thermo-mechanical properties. It is one of the most promising materials for future spacecraft components and reusable rocket modules because it can withstand extremely high temperatures.
Atomistic simulations have predicted that a material made with the right ratio of hafnium, nitrogen and carbon could have a melting point significantly higher than the previously highest-known melting point for any compound: more than 4,400 kelvins (the temperature of the surface of the Sun). Experimental testing in 2020 has confirmed that this material exists: a hafnium nitride-carbonitride mixture called (Hf,Ta)CN that melts at an even higher temperature than hafnium carbide.
This article reports the synthesis of this new material via solid-gas mechanochemical reaction in a planetary ball mill from elemental Ti, B and C under a nitrogen atmosphere. The mechanochemical reactions were accompanied by a chemical dissociation process in the sample to form a mixed phase exhibiting a face-centred cubic structure. The (Ti,B)CN phase was further densified by spark plasma sintering to form dense single-phase Hf(Ti,B)CN ceramics. The oxidation resistance of these materials was assessed by thermogravimetric analysis and static oxidation experiments under ambient conditions. The results show that the (Hf,Ta)CN ceramics exhibit a low oxygen diffusivity owing to the formation of a protective HfSiO 4 barrier layer.
The structural, electronic and elastic properties of the non-stoichiometric transition metal carbonitrides TiNxC1-x, ZrNxC1-x and HfNxC1-x (0