Journal of the European Ceramic Society vol:27 issue:2-3 pages:689-693
Tetragonal ZrO2 polycrystalline (TZP) composites with 2 wt.% Al2O3 and co-stabilised with 1 mol% Y2O3 and (4,6 or 8) mol% CeO2 were sintered at 1450 degrees C for 20 min in a single mode 2.45 GHz microwave furnace. For comparison, conventional sintering was performed in air at 1450 degrees C for 20 min. The starting powder mixture was obtained by a suspension coating technique using yttrium nitrate, cerium nitrate and pure m-ZrO2 nanopowder. Fully dense material grades were obtained by both sintering methods. The influence of the composition and the sintering methods on the final phase composition and microstructure were investigated by X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. Finer and more uniform microstructures were observed in the microwave sintered ceramics when compared to the conventionally sintered samples. The fracture toughness increases with decreasing stabiliser content, whereas a reverse relation was found for the Vickers hardness. Comparable toughness and hardness values were obtained for the microwave and conventionally sintered samples. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.