Autores: Cannillo, V.|Esposito, V.|Rambaldi, E.|Sola, A.|Tucci, A.
Fuente: Ceram. Int.
35 (1), 205-211
Porcelainized stoneware represents a leading product in the world market of ceramic tiles, thanks to its relevant bending strength (with respect to other classes of tiles) and extremely low water absorption: these properties derive from its really low content of residual porosity. Nevertheless, an accurate investigation of the cross section of a porcelainized stoneware tile reveals a non-uniform distribution of the residual pores through the thickness, which results in a spatial gradient of properties. Porcelainized stoneware, therefore, may be looked at as a functionally graded material. In the present research, commercial porcelainized stonewares were analysed in order to define the effect of the residual porosity and its spatial distribution on the mechanical properties of tiles. Polished cross sections of porcelainized stoneware tiles were investigated by optical and scanning electron microscopy in order to define the content and distribution of residual pores as a function of distance from the working surface. For each porcelainized stoneware, the local elastic properties of the ceramic matrix were measured by a depth-sensing Vickers micro-indentation technique, then the so-obtained microstructural images and elastic properties were used to model the stoneware tile mechanical properties. In particular, the cross section of each tile was described as a multi-layered system, each layer of which was considered as a composite material formed by a ceramic matrix and residual pores. The elastic properties of each layer were predicted by applying analytical equations derived from the theory of composite materials and, as a new approach, by performing microstructure-based finite element simulations. In order to validate the proposed multi-layered model and identify the most reliable predictive technique, the numerical results were compared with experimental data obtained by a resonance-based method.
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