So, though I’ve never used it, I’ve talked about CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) IRL often enough for most of my friends and family to have a simplified idea of the process. To perform CVD, one uses an evacuated vacuum chamber, some precursor gas (I.e. argon/methane mix for Carbon Nanotube manufacturing), and a lot of heat. The heat decomposes the hydrocarbon gas into carbon, which in the specific conditions, deposits into a self-assembly structure of nanotubes (or whichever end product is being manufactured).
CVI, alternatively, is the same process essentially, with the difference being a preform (or a porus structure) is placed within the vacuum chamber initially, and this structure is then infiltrated with the deposited material (non-oxide ceramics, mostly (silicon carbide, silicon boride, nitrogen based ceramics, etc.)).
I have been rebuilding my autoclave after the last two failures, and I have no illusion that a CVD/CVI system could be made safely in my lab with our current resources. But I can imagine a carbon-fibre reinforced silica aerogel monolith that has CVI applied to make a new type or manner of C/SiC composite.
So, another set of experiments I ain’t doin’.
Why ain’t there ever enough time?