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Al2O3/ZrO2/Y3Al5O12 composites: A high-temperature mechanical characterization

An Al2O3/5 vol%·ZrO2/5 vol% Y3Al5O12 (YAG) tri-phase composite was manufactured by surface modification of an alumina powder with inorganic precursors of the second phases. The bulk materials were produced by die-pressing and pressureless sintering at 1500 °C, obtaining fully dense, homogenous samples, with ultra-fine ZrO2 and YAG grains dispersed in a sub-micronic alumina matrix. The high temperature mechanical properties were investigated by four-point bending tests up to 1500 °C, and the grain size stability was assessed by observing the microstructural evolution of the samples heat treated up to 1700 °C. Dynamic indentation measures were performed on as-sintered and heat-treated Al2O3/ZrO2/YAG samples in order to evaluate the micro-hardness and elastic modulus as a function of re-heating temperature. The high temperature bending tests highlighted a transition from brittle to plastic behavior comprised between 1350 and 1400 °C and a considerable flexural strength reduction at temperatures higher than 1400 °C; moreover, the microstructural investigations carried out on the re-heated samples showed a very limited grain growth up to 1650 °C.
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