Zirconium diboride (ZrB2) ceramic possesses a unique combination of nice mechanical performance, high melting point (> 3000 °C) and great high-temperature oxidation resistance (up to 1600 °C), which makes it a promising material system for ever-increasing ultra-high temperature (UHT) applications. However, ZrB2 suffers from poor mechanical performance at UHTs, which could strongly limit its applications at UHT. Here, we successfully demonstrate that texturing is an effective strategy to greatly enhance the flexural strength of monolithic ZrB2, reaching a high value of 810 ± 60 MPa at 1600 °C when loaded in c-axis direction. We thoroughly discuss the strengthening mechanism by in-depth microstructural observations and analysis. Our discovery has technological and scientific implications for other UHT ceramic systems, especially those using ZrB2 as a matrix.
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