Nucleation kinetics of crystalline phases from a kaolinitic body used in the processing of red ceramics
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The crystallization kinetics of red ceramic raw material from the western part of São Paulo State, Brazil, was examined by differential thermal analysis (DTA) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The chemical composition of the clay sample was determined by X-ray fluorescence (XRF). Non-isothermal crystallization kinetic methods have been applied to the study of the mechanism of crystallization in this kaolinitic material. The exothermic peak shifted to higher temperatures (945 to 974 degrees C) with increasing heating rate (10 to 50 degrees C/min). The average activation energies determined by the Kissinger method (787 +/- 85 kJ/mol) and the Ligero method (721 +/- 32 kJ/mol) are in agreement. The Avrami constant n obtained by the Ligero method and the m parameter (Matusita method) values were between 1 and 1.5, which indicate a three-dimensional crystal growth with polyhedral morphology and surface nucleation as the dominant mechanism. X-ray diffraction data indicate that this activation energy is not associated with the crystallization of mullite. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of fired (1000 and 1190 degrees C) samples show their densification during the sinterization process. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.