Title

Y2O3-MgO Nano-Composite Synthesized by Plasma Spraying and Thermal Decomposition of Solution Precursors

Date of Completion

January 2011

Keywords

Engineering, Materials Science

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

This research aims to identify the key feedstock characteristics and processing conditions to produce Y2O3-MgO composite coatings with high density and hardness using solution precursor plasma spray (SPPS) and suspension plasma spray (SPS) processes, and also, to explore the phenomena involved in the production of homogenized nano-composite powders of this material system by thermal decomposition of solution precursor mixtures. The material system would find potential application in the fabrication of components for optical applications such as transparent windows. ^ It was shown that a lack of major endothermic events during precursor decomposition and the resultant formation of highly dense particles upon pyrolysis are critical precursor characteristics for the deposition of dense and hard Y2O3-MgO coatings by SPPS. Using these principles, a new Y2O3-MgO precursor solution was developed, which yielded a coating with Vickers hardness of 560 Hv. This was a considerable improvement over the hardness of the coatings obtained using conventional solution precursors, which was as low as 110 Hv. ^ In the thermal decomposition synthesis process, binary solution precursor mixtures of: yttrium nitrate (Y[n]) or yttrium acetate (Y[a]), with magnesium nitrate (Mg[n]) or magnesium acetate (Mg[a]) were used in order to study the effects of precursor chemistry on the structural characteristics of the resultant Y2O3-MgO powders. The phase domains were coarse and distributed rather inhomogeneously in the materials obtained from the Y[n]Mg[n] and Y[a]Mg[a] mixtures; finer and more homogeneously-distributed phase domains were obtained for ceramics produced from the Y[a]Mg[n] and Y[n]Mg[a] mixtures. It was established that these phenomena were related to the thermal characteristics for the decomposition of the precursors and their effect on phase separation during oxide crystallization. Addition of ammonium acetate to the Y[n[Mg[n] mixture changed the endothermic process to exothermic and improved the dispersion of the component phases. ^ Two suspension types, made with powders synthesized from the Y[n]Mg[n] and Y[n]Mg[a] precursor mixtures were sprayed by SPS. The densities and hardnesses of the coatings deposited using the two powder types were similar. However, the microstructure of coatings deposited using the Y[n]Mg[a]-synthesized powder exhibited some eutectic configuration which was not observed in the coatings deposited using the Y[n]Mg[n]-synthesized powder. ^