The presented work concerns the development and investigation of three different grades of ZrO2
materials containing Al2
particles (ATZ-Alumina Toughened Zirconia ceramics with 2.3–20 vol.% of alumina). The zirconia powders containing 3 mol.% of yttria were synthesized by a precipitation/calcination method and fabricated from two different zirconia powders with different yttria content. Then, the selected ATZ composites (ATZ-B, ATZ-10 and ATZ-20) were prepared by means of conventional mixing, compacting and sintering at 1450 °C for 1.5 h. The phase composition, microstructure, relative density and basic mechanical properties were determined. Uniform microstructures with relative densities over 99% of theoretical density, hardness values between 12.0–13.8 GPa, flexural strength up to 1 GPa and outstanding fracture toughness of 12.7 MPa⋅m1/2
were obtained. The aging susceptibility of alumina toughened zirconia materials, as a consequence of hydrothermal treatment, was investigated. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of LTD (low temperature degradation) on the tetragonal to monoclinic phase transitions and on the flexural strength of hydrothermally aged specimens. The results were compared to those obtained for commercially available tetragonal zirconia-based materials containing 3 mol.% of yttria. This research shows that ATZ composites that have excellent mechanical properties and sufficient hydrothermal aging resistance can be attained and later used in technical and biomedical applications.
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