Recovery of tetragonal phase from previously transformed Y-TZP
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ZrO2(Y2O3)-based ceramics are widely used as biomaterials due to high fracture toughness, resulting from the tetragonal-monoclinic phase transformation in which the ceramic is submitted during crack propagation. In this context, studies involving the possibility of optimization of the tetragonal phase are important for the properties improvement of this ceramic. This study investigated the recovery of tetragonal phase from a previously transformed ZrO2(3 mol% Y2O3) ceramic. Zirconia samples were sintered at 1450 °C, at 1530 °C - 2 h and at 1600 °C - 4 h, in order to obtain materials with distinct microstructural features. The sintered samples were characterized by relative density, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. Samples sintered at 1450 °C, 1530 °C - 2 h and 1600 °C - 4 h, presented relative densities of 94.2, 99.6 and 99.7% with grains size averages of 0.28, 0.49 and 1.31 μm, respectively. All samples were submitted to milling to induce the tetragonal-monoclinic phase transformation presenting 5, 50 and 65 vol% of monoclinic phase. Subsequently, heat treatments between 400 °C and 1200 °C were conducted to retransform monoclinic in tetragonal phase. It has been found that the smaller the grain size after sintering, the lower the necessary annealing temperatures for fully recovering of tetragonal phase. Annealing temperatures of 950, 1100 and 1200 °C were sufficient to recover almost fully the tetragonal phase.