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Precipitation, growth, and coarsening of Si3N4 crystals in (Si,Al,Mg,Y)(O,N) liquids at 1680oC has been studied. The initial nucleation of β-Si3N4 occurs mostly on α-Si3N44 because of the very high supersaturation of the liquid. After a brief period of growth, the crystals then undergo accelerated coarsening, decreasing the crystal concentration by almost 100 times with little change in the total crystal volume. Meanwhile, the crystals gradually transform from β-Si3N4, by substituting Si-N with Al-O, to β'-SiAlON of various compositions. The evolution of aspect ratio strongly depends on the Si/(Al,Mg,Y) ratio, which is rationalized by cation segregation to the interface driven by the acidity–basicity differential between the liquid and the crystal.
Date Posted: 01 December 2004
This document has been peer reviewed.