Micromechanisms of deformation in high-purity hot-pressed alumina

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A high-strength aluminum oxide was produced by vacuum hot pressing high-purity, submicron-size alumina powders. The uniaxial compressive fracture strength was strongly strain-rate sensitive and varied from 5.5 GPa at 10-4 s-1 to 8.3 GPa at 103 s-1. A Hugoniot elastic limit of about 11.9 GPa was determined from flyer plate impact tests. The deformation/fracture process was examined using both uniaxial stress and uniaxial strain conditions. Under a uniaxial stress condition, microplasticity was observed in the form of aligned dislocations that appeared similar to shear bands in metals. Under a uniaxial strain condition, extensive dislocation activity, grain boundary microcracking and occasional twins were observed. Based on the experimental results and microscopic observations, possible mechanisms responsible for the observed high strength and high strain-rate sensitivity in this alumina are discussed. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science S.A. All rights reserved.

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Materials Science and Engineering A