Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a pre-ceramic polymer?

A pre-ceramic polymer is a polymer that can be heated to elevated temperature or “pyrolyzed” to form a ceramic material.

What ceramics do Starfire Systems’ polymers form?

Starfire® Systems manufactures two classes of polymers which form different ceramics on pyrolysis in an inert environment. These polymers are polycarbosilanes, with a carbon-silicon backbone, that produce silicon carbide on pyrolysis and polysiloxanes, with a silicon-oxygen backbone, that produce silicon oxycarbides on pyrolysis. The polycarbosilanes include SMP-10 and a hot-melt polymer called RD-730. The polysiloxanes are available in a range of compositions and are called “Polyramic® resins” as a group.

What is polymer infiltration and pyrolysis (PIP)?

Polymer infiltration and pyrolysis (PIP) is a method of fabrication of ceramic or ceramic composite parts from pre-ceramic polymers. During PIP a porous green body is immersed in polymer, often under vacuum. The polymer infiltrates the porosity in the part. The part is then pyrolyzed in an inert environment at elevated temperatures and the polymer decomposes into a ceramic. Owing to shrinkage of the polymer during the decomposition to a ceramic, multiple PIP cycles are required to produce parts of adequate density.