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Title: Alumina based nanocomposites by precipitation
Author: Xu, Chen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 6708
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This project addressed two main problems pertaining to Al2O3-FeAl2O4 nanocomposites developed via solid state precipitation: the mechanisms for precipitation in ceramic solid solution via reduction reaction, and the mechanisms for the improved mechanical properties and wear resistance of the developed Al2O3-FeAl2O4 nanocomposites. A model was proposed for precipitation in ceramic solid solutions via reduction reactions (the PRCS model). The thermodynamics of reduction reactions during aging treatments under various atmospheres were calculated and discussed relative to the second phase precipitate formation. Attempts were made to measure the corresponding diffusion kinetics using a new theory developed here based on volume fraction profiles of second phase particles in the aged samples. It was found that the measured apparent oxygen vacancy diffusivities conform well to the oxygen vacancy grain boundary diffusion coefficients reported in the literature, and the measured apparent matrix diffusivity conforms well to the Fe3+ ion matrix diffusion coefficients reported in literature. Based on the thermodynamics calculations, diffusion kinetics and some essential mechanisms that were discussed, the PRCS model was proposed. This has two aspects: macroscopic and microscopic. The macroscopic aspect of PRCS model was mainly used to explain the general aspects of microstructure and the distribution of intergranualar second phase particles. The microscopic aspect of the PRCS model was mainly used to explain the precipitation of intragranualar nanoparticles. The mechanical properties, thermal residual stress and wear resistance of selected Al2O3-FeAl2O4 nanocomposites were measured. The results revealed that the Al2O3-FeAl2O4 possessed improved fracture toughness (by around 46%), flexural strength (by around 30%) and abrasive wear resistance (by a factor of around 5) with respect to monolithic alumina. Several mechanisms were proposed to explain the improvements in both mechanical properties and wear resistance. Compressive residual stress was found in the surface layer of Al2O3-FeAl2O4 nanocomposites due to the thermal expansion coefficient mismatch between surface layer and bulk parts. Such residual stress was also interpreted as the main reason for the improvements in both mechanical properties and wear resistance.
Supervisor: Todd, Richard I. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Materials Sciences ; Ceramics ; Materials processing ; Nanostructures ; alumina ; diffusion ; precipitation ; nanocomposites ; mechanical properties