27 April 2009 Evaluation of commercially available bulk Mg and Al oxides and hydroxides for the production of transparent MgAl2O4
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A significant challenge in the fielding of transparent MgAl2O4 (spinel) ceramic parts for a variety of military applications is the limited availability and fairly high cost of starting powder with consistent quality and performance. In addition, available powders often require additional processing (particularly the addition of a sintering aid such as LiF) prior to ceramic forming and sintering. Although the current sources of commercial spinel powder are limited, separate Mg and Al oxides or hydroxides are among the most widely produced ceramic powders on the market. If stoichiometric combinations of such powders could be substituted with modest effort into existing procedures for transparent spinel manufacture, significant gains could be made in cost, availability, and consistency of the resulting ceramic bodies. To this end we have studied the suitability of various commercial sources of MgO, Mg(OH)2, γ-Al2O3, and AlOOH for transparent MgAl2O4 production. Our methods have been kept simple to facilitate comparisons between trials and to maintain a focus on eventual manufacturing feasibility. Stoichiometric mixtures of Mg and Al powders are thoroughly mixed in an aqueous slurry. The solids are collected, dried, calcined, milled with LiF (as a sintering aid), and sieved. The powders are sintered into dense ceramics with standard hot pressing and hot isostatic pressing procedures. Resulting ceramic transmission is measured and correlated with the purity, surface area, and phase composition of the prepared powders.
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Anthony C. Sutorik, Gary Gilde, Steven M. Kilczewski, Ashley Lidie, "Evaluation of commercially available bulk Mg and Al oxides and hydroxides for the production of transparent MgAl2O4", Proc. SPIE 7302, Window and Dome Technologies and Materials XI, 73020B (27 April 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.818018; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.818018

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