Preparation and Characterization of Mullite-Alumina Structures Formed "In Situ" from Calcined Alumina and Different Grades of Synthetic Amorphous Silica
The in situ reaction between alumina and silica to obtain mullite (Al6Si4O13) can be significantly affected by using synthetic amorphous silica (SAS) sources instead of crystalline ones (quartz and cristobalite). For instance, SASs promote early mullite formation (below 1300°C) and greater densification during sintering. This paper reports the "in situ" formation of mullite-alumina structures from fine calcined alumina (α-Al2O3) and four grades of SAS of different particles' morphology, specific surface area and internal porosity. After sintering assisted by dilatometry (up to 1500°C), the samples' total porosity, density and flexural strength were measured. The relative density and strength levels of some of these structures were greater than or comparable to other studies in which similar compositions were sintered at higher temperatures (1600-1700°C). Their microstructure assessment indicated that the specific surface area and internal porosity of SAS particles showed a major influence in the development of these physical properties.