Electrical Behavior and Microstructural Features of Electric Field-Assisted and Conventionally Sintered 3 mol% Yttria-Stabilized Zirconia
Received: 28 December 2017 / Revised: 10 February 2018 / Accepted: 18 February 2018 / Published: 21 February 2018
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ZrO2: 3 mol% Y2O3 (3YSZ) polycrystalline pellets were sintered at 1400 °C and by applying an alternating current (AC) electric field at 1000 °C. An alumina sample holder with platinum wires for connecting the sample to a power
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: 3 mol% Y2
(3YSZ) polycrystalline pellets were sintered at 1400 °C and by applying an alternating current (AC) electric field at 1000 °C. An alumina sample holder with platinum wires for connecting the sample to a power supply was designed for the electric field-assisted sintering experiments. The apparent density was evaluated with the Archimedes technique, the grain size distribution by analysis of scanning electron microscopy images, and the electrical behavior by the impedance spectroscopy technique. Sintering with the application of AC electric fields to 3YSZ enhances its ionic conductivity. An explanation is proposed, based on the dissolution back to the bulk of chemical species, which are depleted at the grain boundaries, leading to an increase in the oxygen vacancy concentration. For the enhancement of the grain boundary conductivity, an explanation is given based on the diminution of the concentration of depleted chemical species, which migrate to the bulk. This migration leads to a decrease of the potential barrier of the space charge region, known to be responsible for blocking the oxide ions through the intergranular region. Moreover, the heterogeneity of the distribution of the grain sizes is ascribed to the skin effect, the tendency of the AC current density to be largest near the surface, decreasing towards the bulk.