Phase Transformation of Andalusite-Mullite and Its Roles in the Microstructure and Sinterability of Refractory Ceramic

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Andalusite has been realized as a special mineral for the production of refractory ceramics due to its unique property to automatically decompose into mullite and silica during heating at high temperature. The phase transformation from andalusite to mullite plays a critical role for the effective applications of andalusite. This study investigated the microstructural characteristics and sinterability of andalusite powder during high-temperature decomposition. The andalusite powder was bonded with kaolin and prepared as a cylinder green body at 20 MPa; it was then fired at 1423 K to 1723 K (1150 °C to 1450 °C). The microstructures and mechanical strengths of the sintered ceramics were studied by the compressive test, X-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy. The results showed that newly born mullite appeared as rodlike microcrystals and dispersed around the initial andalusite. At 1423 K (1150 °C), the mullitization of andalusite was started, but the complete mullitization was not found until firing at 1723 K (1450 °C). The compressive strength of the ceramics increased from 93.7 to 294.6 MPa while increasing the fire temperature from 1423 K to 1723 K (1150 °C to 1450 °C). Meanwhile, the bulk density of the ceramics was only slightly changed from 2.15 to 2.19 g/cm3.

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Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A: Physical Metallurgy and Materials Science