Direct observation of intergranular cracks in sintered silicon nitride

Seiichiro Ii, Chihiro Iwamoto, Katsuyuki Matsunaga, Takahisa Yamamoto, Masato Yoshiya, Yuichi Ikuhara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Crack propagation along grain boundaries in sintered silicon nitride (Si3N4 was investigated by in-situ straining experiments at room temperature in a transmission electron microscope, using a high-precision microindenter. Using this in-situ technique, cracks introduced were introduced in situ and observed propagating along grain boundaries. High-resolution electron microscopy observation revealed that the propagation of the intergranular crack takes place at an interface between the Si 3N4 grains and the intergranular glassy film (IGF). This suggests that the Si3N4/IGF interface has a relatively high excess energy. The result was compared with a theoretical calculation using a molecular dynamics simulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2767-2775
Number of pages9
JournalPhilosophical Magazine
Issue number25-26
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Sep 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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