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• ZrB2, HfB2, TaB2 have been produced with different techniques and compositions.
• We studied morphology and optical properties.
• Impact of process- and composition-related parameters is assessed.
• A guideline for producing future solar absorbers is established.
Ultra-high temperature boride ceramics have proved to show promising properties for novel solar receivers. The present work shows a further step towards their actual application, investigating how sintering technique and starting powders composition affect the properties of final materials. Thus we report on the comparative characterization of ZrB2, HfB2 and TaB2 produced by high pressure and pressureless techniques and with different amounts of MoSi2 sintering aid. We investigate microstructural, mechanical and optical properties, in the perspective to assess the material potential for novel solar absorbers operating at higher temperatures than those currently available. Moreover, a systematic study has been carried out on ZrB2, producing with fixed high pressure sintering technique, a series of samples with MoSi2 compositions in the range 5–50 vol%. We show that the content of silicide and silicide-related secondary phases in the final pellets affects either the mechanical performance and the optical behavior. Thus, as far as the optical properties are concerned, the MoSi2 amount should be the lowest as possible to ensure a proper material consolidation whilst enhancing the absorbance/spectral selectivity.
Journal: Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells - Volume 155, October 2016, Pages 368–377