Internal stresses and the martensite start temperature in alumina-zirconia composites : effects of composition and microstructure

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Kathleen B. Alexander
  • Paul F. Becher
  • Xun Li Wang
  • Chun Hway Hsueh


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-296
Journal / PublicationJournal of the American Ceramic Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1995
Externally publishedYes


In alumina-based composites containing ceria-stabilized tetragonal zirconia, the martensite start temperature (Ms) of the tetragonal-to-monoclinic zirconia phase transformation exhibits a grain size dependence that becomes increasingly pronounced as the zirconia content decreases. Neutron diffraction experiments confirm earlier dilatometry measurements of Ms in composites containing ≥20 vol% ZrO2 and were instrumental in obtaining Ms values in lower zirconia content (i.e., 10 vol%) composites. The dependence of Ms on zirconia content is related to the internal stresses that arise from differences in thermal expansion coefficients between the two phases. Neutron diffraction measurements show that the internal tensile stresses in the zirconia grains increase with decreasing zirconia content. The measured internal stresses are in quantitative agreement with predictions based on models assuming isolated ZrO2 particles at low zirconia contents and a continuous ZrO2 'matrix' phase at higher zirconia contents. This assumption is consistent with the observed microstructural development in which the low zirconia contents result in isolated zirconia grains, whereas higher zirconia contents result in more interconnected zirconia grains.

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