Morphology and composition of spray-flame-made yttria-stabilized zirconia nanoparticles.


Homogeneous yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) with 8-31 nm average crystallite and particle diameter containing 3-10 mol% yttria are made by flame spray pyrolysis (FSP) of various yttrium and zirconium precursors at production rates up to 350 g h(-1). Product particles are characterized by N(2) adsorption (BET), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and x-ray diffraction (XRD). The effect of liquid precursor composition on product particle morphology, composition and crystallinity is investigated. The yttria content does not affect the product primary particle and crystal sizes of homogeneous YSZ. These are determined, in turn, by the process enthalpy content and overall metal concentration. Flame-made YSZ nanoparticles of homogeneous composition and morphology are formed when using either only organometallic zirconium and yttrium precursors or 2-ethylhexanoic acid as solvent and inexpensive zirconium carbonate and yttrium nitrate hexahydrate as precursors. In contrast, and consistent with the literature, hollow or inhomogeneous YSZ particles are made when organometallic zirconium and yttrium nitrate precursors of high water content are employed, especially at high production rate. The ratio of XRD-determined small to large sizes for inhomogeneous crystalline particles is an effective quantitative measure of their degree of inhomogeneity. For such inhomogeneous particles nitrogen adsorption is not a reliable technique for the average grain size as it relies on integral properties of the particle size distribution.


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