Journal article

Microcracking of high zirconia refractories after t→m phase transition during cooling: An EBSD study

High zirconia refractories are composed of a zirconia skeleton surrounded by an intergranular glassy phase. In these materials, zirconia undergoes up to two successive phase transitions during the manufacturing process, c → t then t → m. This leads, after complete cooling, to the formation of microcracks. Preliminary observations have enabled to identify the mechanism mostly responsible for the observed microcracking. In particular, SEM imaging emphasizes the link between the positions of cracks and the presence of distinct crystallographic domains. Thus, our work focuses on the arrangement of the monoclinic and tetragonal domains in zirconia dendrites. The assessment by XRD of the thermal expansion coefficients of zirconia at the lattice scale and the analysis of EBSD maps show that cracking is produced by the thermal expansion mismatch between groups of crystallographic variants. The further reconstruction of both cubic and tetragonal - in the case of a presence of monoclinic zirconia at room temperature - parent grains enables to determine the impact of each transition on the final microstructure and the generated microcracking. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


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