The hardness and thermal stability of cubic spinel silicon nitride (c-Si3N4), synthesized under high-pressure and high-temperature conditions, have been studied by microindentation measurements, and x-ray powder diffraction and scanning electron microscopy, respectively The phase at ambient temperature has an average hardness of 35.31 GPa, slightly larger than SiO2 stishovite, which is often referred to as the third hardest material after diamond and cubic boron nitride. The cubic phase is stable up to 1673 K in air. At 1873 K, alpha -and beta -Si3N4 phases are observed, indicating a phase transformation sequence of c-to-alpha -to-beta -Si3N4 phases.
|Journal||JOURNAL OF PHYSICS-CONDENSED MATTER|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|