Journal of the european ceramic society vol:30 issue:4 pages:899-904
Nano-powder composites of 3Y-TZP doped with 8 mol% CuO were processed by spark-plasma sintering (SPS). A 96% dense composite ceramic with an average grain size of 70 nm was obtained by applying the SPS process at 1100 degrees C and 100 MPa for 1 min. In contrast to normal, pressureless, sintering during SPS reactions between CuO and 3Y-TZP were suppressed, the CuO phase was reduced to metallic Cu, while the 3Y-TZP phase remained almost purely tetragonal. Annealing after SPS results in grain growth and tetragonal to monoclinic zirconia phase transformation. The grain size and monoclinic zirconia phase content are strongly dependent on the annealing temperature. By combining the processing techniques studied in this work, including traditional pressureless sintering, properties of the composite ceramic can be tuned via manipulation of microstructure. Tuning the mechanical properties of dense 8 mol% CuO doped 3Y-TZP composite ceramic by utilising different processing techniques is given as an example. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.