The tensile creep rate of most commercial grades of Si3N4 increases strongly with stress. Although the usual power-law functions can represent the creep data, the data often show curvature and systematic variations of slope with temperature and stress. In this article, we present a new approach to understanding the creep of ceramics, such as Si3N4, where a deformable second phase bonds a deformation-resistant major phase. A review of experimental data suggests that the rate of formation and growth of cavities in the second phase controls creep in these materials. The critical step for deformation is the redistribution of the second phase away from the cavitation site to the surrounding volume. The effective viscosity of the second phase and the density of active cavities determine the creep rate. Assuming that the hydrostatic stresses in pockets of the second phase are normally distributed leads to a model that accurately describes the tensile creep rate of grades of Si3N4, In this model, the creep rate increases exponentially with the applied stress, is independent of Si3N4 grain size, is inversely proportional to the effective viscosity of the deformable phase, and is proportional to the cube of the volume fraction of the deformable phase.
and Wiederhorn, S.
A new model for tensile creep of silicon nitride, Journal of the American Ceramic Society, [online], https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=900964
(Accessed December 8, 2023)