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Porous YSZ ceramics with unidirectionally aligned pore channel structure:Lowering thermal conductivity by silica aerogels impregnation
, Chang-An Wang
, Yong Huang
State Key Lab of New Ceramics and Fine Processing, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, PR China
Received 13 February 2011; received in revised form 21 June 2011; accepted 10 July 2011Available online 3 August 2011
The previous report of this work has demonstrated the fabrication and properties of porous yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) ceramics with unidi-rectionally aligned pore channels. As a follow-up study, the present work aims at lowering the thermal conductivity of the porous YSZ ceramicsby silica aerogels impregnation. The porous YSZ ceramics were immersed in an about-to-gel silica sol. Both the unidirectionally aligned porechannelsandtheinter-grainporesbygrainstackinginthechannel-porewalloftheporousYSZceramicswereimpregnatedwiththesilicasol.Afteraging and supercritical drying, silica aerogels formed in the macroporous network of the porous YSZ ceramics with unidirectionally aligned porechannels. The inﬂuences of silica aerogel impregnation on the microstructure and properties of porous YSZ ceramics with unidirectional alignedpore channels were investigated. The porosity decreased after impregnation with silica aerogels. Both microstructure observation and pore sizedistribution indicated that both channel-pore size and inter-grain pore-size decreased signiﬁcantly after impregnation with silica aerogels. Impreg-nating porous YSZ ceramics with silica aerogels remarkably lowered the room-temperature thermal conductivity and enhanced the compressivestrength. The as-fabricated materials are thus suitable for applications in bulk thermal isolators.© 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
; Porosity; Thermal conductivity; Insulators
Zirconia, which offers low thermal conductivity and goodmechanicalperformance,isofgreatinterestforinsulatedenginecomponents, refractory and thermal insulation.
Furthermore,introducing pores into the zirconia materials decreases ther-mal conductivity, due to the air trapped in the pores creatinga better thermal insulator. There is currently widespread interestin fabricating porous zirconia ceramics with low thermal con-ductivity for their applications in bulk thermal isolators. Thefabrication methods include replication technique using poly-mericsponge,
CNC-machining and slurry coating process,
using pore form-ing agents,
and freeze casting.
Allthese methods have been successfully developed to fabricate
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Current address: Materials Science and Engineering Program, Texas A&MUniversity, 3003 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-3003, USA.
porous zirconia ceramics and thus lower thermal conductivity.However,thestrengthofporousceramicsdecreasessigniﬁcantlywith increasing porosity, thus restricting their use. Although theprimary function of the thermal insulation materials may not bestructural, many of the applications require a certain degree of strength which is often absent in highly porous YSZ ceramics.Thus, lowering thermal conductivity while preserving strengthbecomes the threshold of developing porous zirconia ceramicsas thermal insulation materials.Aerogels could also be ideal materials for commercialthermal insulators due to their unique chemical and tex-tural characteristics.
Many studies have long focusedon aerogels due to their extraordinary properties, such asultra-large speciﬁc surface area (500–1200m
/g), ultra-lowdensity (0.003–0.35g/cm
), ultra-low thermal conductivity(0.012–0.1W/mK), and ultra-high porosity, which originatefrom their mesoporous structure.
However, a distinctivecharacteristic of aerogels is that they are extremely brit-tle and weak, and aerogels generally have poor mechanicalproperties.