A process for strengthening aluminum based ceramics is provided. A gaseous atmosphere consisting essentially of silicon monoxide gas is formed by exposing a source of silicon to an atmosphere consisting essentially of hydrogen and a sufficient amount of water vapor. The aluminum based ceramic is exposed to the gaseous silicon monoxide atmosphere for a period of time and at a temperature sufficient to produce a continuous, stable silicon-containing film on the surface of the aluminum based ceramic that increases the strength of the ceramic.
This invention relates generally to a process for strengthening ceramics and more particularly to a process for strengthening aluminum based ceramics. The United States Government has rights to this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC05960R22464 with Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.