Design of microstructure of zirconia foams from the emulsion template properties

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2013-01-14

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In this work, we investigate the correlations between structural and rheological properties of emulsified aqueous sol and the porous microstructure of monolithic zirconia foams, manufactured by the integrative combination of the sol-gel and emulsification processes. Macroporous zirconia ceramics prepared using different amounts of decahydronaphthalene, as oil phase, are compared in terms of the emulsion microstructure and ceramic porosity. A combination of electrical conductivity, oil droplet diameter, and rheological measurements was used to highlight the key effect of the dynamic structural properties of the emulsion on the porosity of the ceramic zirconia foam. The minimization of drying shrinkage by appropriate sol-gel mineralization of the oil droplet wall enabled versatile and easy tuning of the ceramic foam microstructure, by fine adjustment of the emulsion characteristics. The foam with the highest porosity (90%) and the lowest bulk density (0.40 g cm-3) was prepared from emulsion with 80 wt% of decahydronaphthalene, which also showed a bicontinuous structure and elevated flow consistency. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2013.

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Soft Matter, v. 9, n. 2, p. 550-558, 2013.

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