Sintering temperature depression in Al2O3 by mechanical milling
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High-energy milling of Al2O3 with hardened steel milling media has confirmed that nanocrystalline powders are readily formed. At a ball to charge mass-ratio of 20:1, the crystallite size falls below 30 nm in just 2 h and below 15 nm in 4 h. The as-milled powders are contaminated with Fe which increases linearly with increased milling time, reaching ∼10 wt% after 16 h. The HCl leaching process of Karagedov and Lyakhov [Karagedov and Lyakhov (1999) Nanostruct Mater 11(5):559] was found to remove a large proportion of the Fe, but residual Fe was found with XRF analysis. Milled and leached samples show significant sintering temperature depression to approximately 1100 °C and produce sintered densities greater than 94% without the application of pressure. Milling induced lattice expansion of the Al2O3 is observed which we posit to be due to defect formation rather than Fe absorption. The respective roles of small crystallite size and lattice defects in reducing the sintering temperature are discussed.
KeywordsAl2O3 Milling Milling Time Rietveld Refinement Mechanical Milling
The authors thank the Australian Research Council for financial support. We also thank Mr. David Phelan for assistance with the electron microscopy, and Mr. Peter Garfoot for his assistance with sample preparation.
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