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The properties of Si3N4:

The molecular form of silicon nitride Si3N4 is where N makes up 39.94% and Si 60.06%. Si and N are bound by a strong, covalent bond (30% ionic). This gives Si3N4 a high Mohs hardness (9), mellow melting point and sturdiness.

Silicon-nitride does not melt and decomposes at a temperature of 1900degC when under normal pressure. The specific heat for this material is 718.8J/kg*degC. The microhardnesses of the a-phase and b-phase are respectively 1016GPa & 24.532.65GPa. As it is a covalently-bonded compound, liquid phase will not form under its decomposition temperatures (around 1900degC). Silicon nitride is sintered by using oxide additives. Oxide materials are Y2O3, AL2O3, etc., which promote sintering. When the addition is higher than 20%, the reaction is based on using the SiO2 oxide layer formed on the surface silicon nitride and the added oxide in order to form a liquid and penetrate into crystal. The material must have a high degree of diffusion.

Material Si3N4 has a high thermodynamic stability. In an oxidizing environment, silicon nitride is suitable up to 1400degC. It can be used to up to 1800degC when in a neutral atmosphere or reducing one.

Applications of silicon-nitride materials to refractory materials

The excellent properties of silicon nitride are well known for their high temperature structural materials. These include high temperature strength, corrosion resistance and good wear resistance. Because of the strong covalent bond at high temperatures and the low diffusion coefficient, Si3N4 must be manufactured under high pressures and high temperatures. Otherwise, it would be difficult to produce silicon nitride material of high quality. This production cost and these equipment limitations are hard for the metallurgical industries to accept. The research on refractories began late, and was not comprehensive. There are many theories derived from ceramics but little innovation. In the past silicon nitride mainly existed as a phase of bonding in refractory products. The nitriding of metal Si combined with fine powder and corundum, or silicon carbide to produce a mixture of hard-to-sinter materials.

The ceramic shed consists of fine powder and silicon carbide. The silicon nitride-bonded silicon carbide is formed by metal Si being nitrided and forming silicon nitride. It can be used for blast furnace parts, body, etc. Material has better high-temperature properties than the clay-bonded silicone carbide shed. This solves the problem caused by the oxidation and swelling of silicon carbide in the clay bonded shed. As the binding material for the amorphous materials in the Baosteel project’s second phase, the corrosion-resistant Si3N4 is used.

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