On the formation mechanisms and properties of MAX phases: A review

Zhuo Zhang, Xiaoming Duan*, Dechang Jia, Yu Zhou, Sybrand van der Zwaag

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)
180 Downloads (Pure)


MAX phases are a family of ternary carbide or nitride ceramics possessing a layered crystal structure and, due to their chemical bonds having a mixed covalent-ionic-metallic nature, have unique properties combining those of metals and ceramics. In this review, the formation mechanisms of MAX phases from elemental and compound powders are reviewed in detail, as the formation mechanisms are closely related to the unique properties of well-synthesized MAX phases. The stability of MAX phases in some harsh external environments is significantly influenced by the defect population, allowing the mechanisms of defect formation and migration to strongly influence their self-healing performance and radiation tolerance. The properties of MAX phases can be tailored by creating solid solutions, which have lattice distortions, and texturing which results in the preferential orientation of plate-like grains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3851-3878
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of the European Ceramic Society
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Formation mechanisms
  • MAX phases
  • Point defects
  • Solid solutions
  • Texture

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