High purity chemically vapor-deposited silicon carbide (SiC) and 2D continuous SiC fiber, chemically vapor-infiltrated SiC matrix composites with pyrocarbon interphases were examined. Specifically, temperature dependent (RT to 800 °C) electrical conductivity and the influence of neutron irradiation were measured. The influence of neutron irradiation on electrical properties appeared very strong for the SiC of this study, typically resulting in orders lower ambient conductivity and steeper temperature dependency of this conductivity. For the 2D composites, through-thickness (normal to the fiber axis') electrical conductivity was dominated by bypass conduction via interphase network at relatively low temperatures, whereas conduction through SiC constituents dominated at higher temperatures. Through-thickness electrical conductivity of neutron-irradiated 2D SiC composites with thin PyC interphase, currently envisioned for flow channel insert application, will likely in the order of 10 S/m at the appropriate operating temperature. Mechanisms of electrical conduction in the composites and irradiation-induced modification of electrical conductivity of the composites and their constituents are discussed.
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