Indexed on: 01 Nov '96Published on: 01 Nov '96Published in: Journal of Materials Science
The different factors affecting the mechanism of zircon formation from amorphous ZrO2 · SiO2 powders have been studied. It was shown that zircon was formed by solid state reaction between tetragonal zirconia and silica (amorphous and cristobalite). The previously suggested Hedvall effect associated with the crystallization of amorphous silica into cristobalite did not play any role in this reaction. A high degree of Si-Zr mixing in the starting amorphous powders did not affect the mechanism of zircon formation, but speeded up the reaction rate due to the small particle size of the zirconia and silica particles segregated previously to zircon formation. It was also found that the formation reaction was retarded by the presence of carbonaceous species coming from the alkoxide precursors, which were probably retained at grain boundaries after calcination, acting as a diffusion barrier. These factors can explain the observed differences in the temperatures of zircon formation previously reported.