A powder mixture of Al/TiO2/H3BO3 = 10/3/6 in molar ratio was used in this study to form the Al2O3–TiB2 ceramic composite via thermite reactions (combustion synthesis). As no combustion synthesis occurred for an unmilled sample in a furnace, the mixture was milled in a planetary ball-mill for various milling times, and the as-milled samples were in situ synthesized in the furnace at a heating rate of 10 °C/min. The differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) measurements were performed with the same heating rate on the unmilled and the as-milled samples to evaluate the influences of the milling on the mechanisms and efficiencies of reactions. Although no combustion synthesis occurred for the unmilled sample in the furnace, two exothermic peaks were detected in its DSC curve after the melting of the Al. For the as-milled samples, significant changes revealed in the DSC curves, suggest that the milling process before the combustion synthesis changed the mechanisms and efficiencies of reactions. In addition, the intensity and the temperature of the exothermic peaks in the DSC curves changed by increasing the milling time. According to the XRD analyses, by enhancing the milling time, the purity of the final products would increase, confirming that the efficiency of the reactions increased. Finally, the microstructures of the as-milled and as-synthesized samples were examined by a SEM, and it was shown that the morphology of the reactant powders was altered by increasing the milling time.
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The first author expresses his appreciation to Mrs. S. Nikpoor for her assistance.
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