Processing of Continuous Fiber Reinforced Ceramic Composites for Ultra High Temperature Applications Using Polymer Precursors


Monolithic ceramic materials are currently being used for ultra high temperature applications such as hypersonic vehicles, missiles and rockets where the materials experience extremely high temperatures (often > 2000°C). Ceramic materials offer superior chemical and physical stability at higher temperatures compared to metals and polymers. One of the major challenges with the monolithic ceramics is their tendency to fail catastrophically. Especially in larger structures where the probability of process induced or in-service induced flaws increases, the chances of catastrophic failure also increase. One way of significantly improving the toughness of these materials is by introducing continuous fibers. The development of commercial low viscosity polymer ceramic precursors (PCPs) such as SMP-10 provided new opportunities to manufacture continuous fiber reinforced ceramic composites (CFCCs). PCPs behave like polymers at low temperatures and transform into ceramics upon heating to high temperatures. PCPs enable the adaptation of several well-established polymer processing techniques and results in high purity and higher reproducibility at lower costs. In the present work, SMP-10 from Starfire Systems has been used to manufacture SiC-ZrB2 CFCCs using low cost vacuum bagging process. Samples loaded with ZrB2 are fabricated using a polymer infiltration and pyrolysis process. The microstructure is investigated using scanning electron microscopy and density analysis. The mechanical performance of the manufactured samples was evaluated using flexure tests.

Meeting Name

SAMPE Conference and Exhibition (2012: May 21-24, Baltimore, MD)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Second Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Catastrophic Failures; Ceramic Precursor; Continuous Fiber-Reinforced Ceramic Composites; High Purity; High Temperature; Low Costs; Low Temperatures; Low Viscosity; Mechanical Performance; Monlithic Ceramics; Physical Stability; Polymer Infiltration; Polymer Precursors; Polymer Processing; Pyrolysis Process; Reproducuibilities; Starfire; Ultra High Temperature Application; Vacuum Bagging

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2013 Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) Publishing, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2013

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