Effective activation energy for densification of SiC in the presence of C and B4C additives is determined by constant heating rate experiments through analysis of shrinkage in hot pressing. The activation energy (AE) for sintering increased linearly with the relative density (RD) in two different regimes. The effective AE increased from 407 ± 50 kJ/mole at 75 pct RD to 1132 ± 75 kJ/mole at 95 pct RD. Lattice diffusion is proposed as the predominant mechanism for SiC densification at higher density. This is also validated by the uniform distribution of sintering additive through electron probe microanalysis. The low AE in the regime of lower density could be attributed to the pressure-assisted particle rearrangement during hot pressing. The relative contribution of both the mechanisms between two density limits resulted in the change in AE for sintering. The mechanisms of defect generation resulting in densification are also discussed. © 2018, The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society and ASM International.
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