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Grain Size-Effect on Intergranular Cracking in Shape Memory Zirconia During Cyclic Martensitic Transformations

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Document pages: 49 pages

Abstract: Bulk polycrystalline zirconia-based shape memory ceramics (SMCs) generally crack as they undergo martensitic transformations, largely due to the transformation mismatch stresses. Polycrystalline SMCs subjected to cyclic transformations bodily lose individual grains and progressively comminute, but it is not yet clear how the grain size of a polycrystal affects such cyclic degradation. We explore this issue in 1.5 mol yttria-doped zirconia SMCs by varying the grain size from 0.6 to 7.9 µm in pellets of fixed composition and sample size and subjecting them to multiple thermal cycles through the transformation. A smaller grain size is found to increase the number of cycles required to disaggregate the pellet because of the larger amount of grain boundary area that must crack. Calorimetry analysis shows that the energy relieved through cracking decreases with increasing grain size and reveals an apparent material length scale of ~2 micrometers for the stress relief zone. For grain diameters below this critical length scale, complete stress relief is suggested, while at larger grain sizes, intergranular cracking apparently does not fully relieve the transformation mismatch stresses. Alternate accommodation mechanisms are required including the formation of multiple variants and even some transgranular fracture.

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