Journal of Alloys and Compounds vol:334 pages:200-204
Yttria-stabilised tetragonal zirconia (Y-TZP) composites with 30 vol.% ZrB2 are prepared by hot pressing in vacuum for 1 h at 1450degreesC. Different comraercial zirconia starting powders as well as a range of ZrO2 'powder mixture' grades, based on co-precipitated powders were used for the composite production. The measured differences in the mechanical properties of the obtained composites is explained in terms of the rnicrostructure, the residual stresses due to the presence of ZrB2, and the stabiliser content and its distribution. While the stabitiser content and distribution remained significant, the residual stress in the zirconia matrix is found to be an important additional factor influencing the tetragonal zirconia transformability. Crack deflection by the ZrB2 phase was identified as an active toughening mechanism in the composites. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.