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Study of chemical reactivity of MAX phase single crystals

  • Zhang, Shiqi
Publication Date
Feb 26, 2018
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MAX phases are a family of layered ternary carbides and nitrides with chemical formula Mn+1AXn, where M is an early transition element, A is an element of groups 13 to16 and X is either C, N or both. These phases combine the merits of ceramics and metals, such as chemical stability, machinability, shock resistance, good electrical and thermal conductivity, etc. However, the investigation of their intrinsic properties and anisotropies has heretofore been limited by a lack of availability of single crystals. This thesis mainly deals with the chemical reactivity of MAX phase single crystals. Owing to the large size single crystals grown at LMGP, it was possible to directly assess the anisotropy of the chemical reactivity and to obtain original data. We showed that the prominent role played by the A element for initiating chemical transformations could lead to the synthesis of original materials, and we focused on four different aspects. First, we tried to synthesize MXenes from MAX phase single crystals: The purpose was to obtain large-scale MXenes by taking advantage of the large size of the single crystals. Effort was put on describing the chemical reactivity of MAX phases dipped in different etchants, focusing on HF. Secondly, we studied the MAX phase reactivity with chlorination: the initial purpose was to obtain MXenes, but we finally developed a method for synthesizing porous chromium carbides which exhibit several interesting properties. Thirdly, we used large size single crystals in order to assess the anisotropy of the electrochemical properties. A significant anisotropy was found, either by measuring the current during electrochemical polarization or by frequency-dependent impedance measurements. Several mechanisms were proposed in order to explain this anisotropy of the corrosion properties. Eventually, we showed that the electrochemical results could be used to indirectly evidence the presence of structural defects recently identified in the literature. Such defects, called ripplocations, are specific to nano-lamellar materials.

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