Autores: Babelot, C.|Guignard, A.|Huger, M.|Gault, C.|Chotard, T.|Ota, T.|Adachi, N .
Fuente: J. Mater. Sci.
46 (5), 1211-1219
Flexible ceramics may be useful, for example to process refractory materials with an improved resistance to thermal shocks. A natural flexible sandstone, itacolumite, is mainly constituted of interlocked quartz grains and contains microcracks. Its microstructure allows some free motion between grains that induces its flexibility. The aim of this study is to prepare and characterize flexible aluminum titanate ceramics by mimicking the microstructure of itacolumite. Aluminum titanate (AT) has a high thermal expansion anisotropy that induces grain boundary microcracking leading to flexibility. Here, the flexibility is the capacity of the material to endorse large strain-to-rupture level. This concept is also closely related to a low value of the stiffness induced by damage mechanisms. In this study, the flexibility has been estimated by the measurement of the deflection at fracture on three-point bending test. By preparing AT samples sintered according to different heating cycle s, the correlations between the sintering cycle, the microstructure and the flexibility have been studied. Grain size and microcrack width have been observed by scanning electron microscopy. A major parameter for flexibility is the microcrack volume fraction within the sample. Three types of AT materials have been processed: non flexible (NF), flexible (F), and very flexible (VF). Their thermal and mechanical behaviors have been investigated and showed that NF has a brittle behavior while F and VF have a nonlinear ductile one. This was found to be due to grain boundary microcracks network and to the interlocking of grains. VF is more flexible than F because its microcracks are wider. Flexibility improves the thermal shock resistance: F and VF have a higher thermal shock resistance than NF. Moreover, thermal expansion measurements during thermal cycles showed anomalous effects induced by crack closure when heating and crack opening when cooling
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