Silicon-based polymer-derived ceramics (PDCs) represent a class of materials which are produced by the controlled pyrolysis of suitable organosilicon polymers in inert or reactive atmosphere.
This procedure allows the access to novel additive-free ternary and quaternary ceramic materials which cannot be achieved using conventional processing techniques such as sintering or melting. PDCs are X-ray amorphous but nanoscopically heterogeneous materials.
One of the most intriguing features of PDCs is the presence of nanodomains of 1-3 nm in size in their structure and thus they can be regarded as intrinsic nanocomposites.
The free-carbon phase not only makes these materials “smart” but also strongly influences their thermal stability against crystallization and decomposition as well as the sizes of composing nanodomains.
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