Effect of single-walled carbon nanotubes on thermal and electrical properties of silicon nitride processed using spark plasma sintering

Erica L Corral, Hsin Wang, Javier Garay, Zuhair Munir, Enrique V. Barrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations


Si3N4 nanocomposites reinforced with 1-, 2-, and 6-vol% single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) were processed using spark plasma sintering (SPS) in order to control the thermal and electrical properties of the ceramic. Only 2-vol% SWNTs additions were used to decrease the room temperature thermal conductivity by 62% over the monolith and 6-vol% SWNTs was used to transform the insulating ceramic into a metallic electrical conductor (92Sm-1). We found that densification of the nanocomposites was inhibited with increasing SWNT concentration however, the phase transformation from α- to β-Si3N4 was not. After SPS, we found evidence of SWNT survival in addition to sintering induced defects detected by monitoring SWNT peak intensity ratios using Raman spectroscopy. Our results show that SWNTs can be used to effectively increase electrical conductivity and lower thermal conductivity of Si3N4 due to electrical transport enhancement and thermal scattering of phonons by SWNTs using SPS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-400
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the European Ceramic Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011



  • Composites
  • Electrical properties
  • High-temperature materials
  • Single-wall carbon nanotubes
  • Thermal properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry

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