Aligned Continuous Cylindrical Pores Derived from Electrospun Polymer Fibers in Titanium Diboride
Hicks, David Cyprian
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The use of electrospun polystyrene (PS) fibers to create continuous long range ordered multi-scale porous structures in titanium diboride (TiB2) is investigated in this work. The introduction of electrospun PS fibers as a sacrificial filler into a colloidal suspension of TiB2 allows for easy control over the pore size, porosity, and long range ordering of the porous structures of the sintered ceramic. Green bodies were formed by vacuum infiltrating an electrospun-fiber-filled mold with the colloidal TiB2 suspension. The size, volume, distribution, and dispersion of the pores were optimized by carefully selecting the sacrificial polymer, the fiber diameter, the solvent, and the solid content of TiB2. The green bodies were partially sintered at 2000 C in argon to form a multiscale porous structure via the removal of the PS fibers. Aligned continuous cylindrical pores were derived from the PS fibers in a range of ~5 - 20 μm and random porosity was revealed between the ceramic particles with the size of ~0.3 - 1 μm. TiB2 near-net-shaped parts with the multi-scale porosities (~50 to 70%) were successfully cast and sintered. The multi-scale porous structure produced from electrospun fibers was characterized both thermally and mechanically, at room temperature. The conductivity ranged from 12-31 W m^(-1) K^(-1) at room temperature and the compressive strength ranged from 2-30 MPa at room temperature. Analytical thermal and mechanical models were employed to understand and verify he processing-structure-properties relationship. Finally, a method was devised for estimating the effective thermal conductivity of candidate materials for UHTC applications at relevant temperatures using a finite difference model and a controlled sample environment. This low-cost processing technique facilitates the production of thermally and mechanically anisotropic structures into near-net shape parts, for extreme environment applications, such as ultra high temperature insulation and active cooling components.
- Masters Theses