Loughborough University
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Processing and properties of nanostructured zirconia ceramics

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posted on 2013-03-21, 14:40 authored by Anish Paul
The term nanoceramics is well known in the ceramic field for at least two decades. Even though there are many reports that nanoceramics are superior in terms of mechanical and other properties, no comprehensive and conclusive study on the grain size dependent variation in mechanical properties. So this study was an attempt to study the property variation with grain size and yttria content for a well known ceramic, yttria stabilised zirconia. High solids content but low viscosity YSZ nanosuspensions have been slip cast into -52% dense, very homogeneous green bodies in sizes up to 60 mm in diameter. Sintering cycles have been optimised using both hybrid and conventional two-step heating to yield densities >99.5% of theoretical whilst retaining a mean grain size of <100 nm. The sintered samples have been characterised for hardness, toughness, strength, wear resistance and hydrothermal ageing resistance. The results have been compared with that of a submicron zirconia ceramic prepared using a commercial powder. The strength of the nanoceramics has been found to be very similar to that of conventional submicron ceramics, viz. -10Pa, although the fracture mechanism was different. Two toughness measurement approaches have been used, indentation and surface crack in flexure. The results indicate that the nano 1.5YSZ ceramics may be best viewed as crack, or damage, initiation resistant rather than crack propagation resistant; indentation toughness measurements as high as 14.5 MPa m 112 were observed. Micro-Raman mapping was demonstrated to be a very effective technique to map the phase transformations in zirconia. The wear mechanism of nanozirconia has been observed to be different compared to that in conventional, submicron YSZ and the wear rates to be lower, particularly under wet conditions. In addition, and potentially most usefully, the nan03YSZ ceramics appear to be completely immune to hydrothermal ageing for up to 2 weeks at 245°C & 7 bar; conditions that see a conventional, commercial submicron ceramic disintegrate completely within 1 hour.



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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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