Single wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) incorporated into ceramic matrices are known to impart enhanced mechanical, thermal and electrical properties to the composites formed. Current procedures for their synthesis face challenges, such as, the non-uniform dispersion of the SWNTs and their damage during high temperature processing in a reactive environment. These have led to poor interfacial matrix to SWNT adhesion and the ineffective utilization of the unique properties of the nanotubes. Here we report a rapid, low temperature microwave-induced reaction to create a novel nanoscale silicon carbide (SiC)-SWNT composite. The reaction, which was completed in 10 min, involves the decomposition of chloro-trimethylsilane and the simultaneous nucleation of nanoscale SiC spheres on the SWNT bundles. The bulk composite is a branched tree-like structure comprised of three-dimensionally arrayed SiC-SWNTs. The uniqueness of this approach lies in the formation of a ceramic directly on the SWNTs, rather than physical mixing, or the growth of nanotubes in a ceramic matrix.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Carbon nanotube ceramic composites
- Microwave synthesis
- Scanning electron microscopy