To learn more about silicon carbide nanoparticles as a healing agent, USC’s Rajiv Kalia and colleagues have also run simulations to better understand the oxidation that happens on the nanoparticles’ surface and how that changes their chemistry.
As the silicon carbide nanoparticles interact with air at high temperatures, silicon reacts with oxygen to form a thin crust of silica around the nanoparticles’ surfaces. Carbon at the core of the nanoparticles reorganizes to form regular geometric structures like those found in graphene or nanotubes.
Nanocarbon is exceptionally strong and has specialized electronic properties, which could make these nanoparticles useful as electrodes in new batteries or as supercapacitors. The silicon carbide within these nanoparticles also can glow under certain conditions, which could make these structures useful for biomedical imaging.