Detonation Synthesis of Nanoscale Silicon Carbide from Elemental Silicon


Direct reaction of precursors with the products of detonation remains an underexplored area in the ever-growing body of detonation synthesis literature. This study demonstrated the synthesis of silicon carbide during detonation by reaction of elemental silicon with carbon products formed from detonation of RDX/TNT mixtures. Continuum scale simulation of the detonation showed that energy transfer by the detonation wave was completed within 2-9 μs depending on location of measurement within the detonating explosive charge. The simulated environment in the detonation product flow beyond the Chapman-Jouguet condition where pressure approaches 27 GPa and temperatures reach 3300 K was thermodynamically suitable for cubic silicon carbide formation. Carbon and added elemental silicon in the detonation products remained chemically reactive up to 500 ns after the detonation wave passage, which indicated that the carbon-containing products of detonation could participate in silicon carbide synthesis provided sufficient carbon-silicon interaction. Controlled detonation of an RDX/TNT charge loaded with 3.2 wt% elemental silicon conducted in argon environment lead to formation of ∼3.1 wt% β-SiC in the condensed detonation products. Other condensed detonation products included primarily amorphous silica and carbon in addition to residual silicon. These results show that the energized detonation products of conventional high explosives can be used as precursors in detonation synthesis of ceramic nanomaterials.


Materials Science and Engineering

Second Department

Mining Engineering


This research was supported by the Synthesis and Processing of Materials program in the Army Research Office as project W911NF-18-1-0155.

Keywords and Phrases

A. Powders: Chemical Preparation; B. Electron Microscopy; D. SiC; Detonation

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

15 Feb 2022