Synthesis and sintering of PZT ceramics
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Lead zirconate powder, with Zr/Ti ratio of 50/50 was prepared by polymeric precursor method and doped with 3, 5 and 7 mol% of Sr+2 Or Ba+2, as well as by 0.2 to 5 mol% of Nb+5. The powder was calcined at 750 degrees C by 4 hours and milled during 1.5 h in isopropilic alcohol. Powders were characterized by surface area measurements (BET method), by infrared spectroscopy and by X-ray diffraction to characterize the crystal structure. Isostatically pressed samples were sintered in a dilatometer furnace by using a constant heating rate of 10 degrees C/min from ambient to 1200 degrees C. Synthetic air and air with water vapor were used as atmospheres. Both Sr+2 and Ba+2 substitute Pb+2 and favor the formation of rhombohedral phase. Otherwise, Nb+5 substitute preferentially Zr+4 favoring tetragonal phase. The concentration of dopants and the atmosphere influence the densification and the microstructure of the PZT, which alters the dielectric and piezoelectric properties of the ceramics.