Silicon carbide (SiC) fibers are widely used as a reinforcement in ceramic matrix composites due to their high mechanical strength and superior thermal resistance. Here, we investigate the rapid radio frequency (RF) heating response of two types of SiC fibers (Hi-Nicalon and Sylramic) in the 1-200 MHz frequency range. Hi-Nicalon fibers exhibit a surprisingly rapid RF heating response of 240 °C/s in the perpendicular orientation, and this property could be exploited for oven-free and noncontact processing of composites with SiC fibers. The presence of excess carbon on the surface of Hi-Nicalon fibers is most likely responsible for the RF heating response and significantly higher temperatures in the parallel as compared to perpendicular alignment of fibers to the electric field. The RF heating response of Hi-Nicalon SiC fibers was utilized to heat preceramic polymers (polycarbosilanes) infiltrated in SiC fibers and cure them to ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) using RF applicators. A noncontact RF heating setup to pyrolyze the precursor polymers under inert conditions and make SiC/SiC composites is also developed.
- polymer curing
- silicon carbide fibers