Porous mullite ceramics were prepared from an industrial grade mullite powder by foaming and starch consolidation. The viscosities of the original suspensions and the foamed ones with solid loading of 62.5 and 67.5 wt% were measured. After the steps of forming and drying, the green bodies were sintered under different temperatures from 1,200 to 1,600 °C for 2 h. The influence of solid loading of suspension and sintering temperature on the porosity and compressive strength was evaluated. The sintered mullite ceramics, with porosity from 86 to 73 vol% and corresponding compressive strength from 1 to 22 MPa, contained a multi-modal microstructure with large spherical pores and small pores on internal walls. Thermal conductivity measurement carried out by the transient plane source technique at room temperature resulted in values as low as 0.09 W/mK. In addition, the relationship between thermal conductivity and porosity was discussed in detail.
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This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (Grant No. 2012CB719700) and the Open Project Program of the State Key Lab of Fire (Grant No. HZ2011-KF10), University of Science and Technology of China.
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