Description: The U.S. Bureau of Mines investigated the synthesis of advanced ceramics (SiC+AlN, SiAlON, SiC+Al 203 , and Si 3N4 +AlN) from natural clays (kaolin, halloysite, or montmorillonite) by an intercalation and heat treatment method. This process includes the steps of refining a clay, intercalating organic chemicals into its layered structure, drying the intercalated mixture, firing the treated structure at certain temperature ranges in controlled atmospheres to form desired compounds, and grinding the loosely agglomerated structure. Focus of this research is to economically process advanced ceramic structures from abundant natural resources. The advanced ceramic phases produced in this simple treatment are homogeneously distributed at the nanostructure level, and may potentially lead to cost effective manufacturing processes. The intercalation of clay was confirmed by X-ray and BET analyses. The evolution of chemical compositions during carbonization reactions and carbothermal reduction was investigated. The characteristics of refined clays and synthesized powders were studied. Advanced ceramic composites/solid solution have been produced from intercalated clays, without the presence of other compounds.
Creator: Kwong, Kyei-Sing & Bennett, James P.
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