The alumina (Al2O3) and zirconia (ZrO2) ceramic monoliths and their combination are used in both technical and biomedical applications due to their combination of excellent chemical, physical, and mechanical properties. Pressureless sintering (PLS), reaction bonding (RB), hot pressing (HP), hot isostatic pressing (HIP), and spark plasma sintering (SPS) are the sintering methods more commonly used. The high brittleness, the low fracture toughness, and low thermal stability that possess these ceramics are its Achilles heel for numerous engineering applications. The incorporation of a second phase such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into the ceramic matrix has been attempted to overcome these drawbacks but the obtained results are still controversial considering that the homogeneous dispersion of CNTs and the interfacial bonding between two different ceramic materials remains as a difficult task leading to little or even no improvement in mechanical properties. Besides, the role of CNTs in the sintering of ceramic materials is not clear in the scientific literature taking into account parameters such as materials used and particularly inconsistencies in dispersion and mixing of the CNTs. We discuss how the CNTs can affect the sintering behavior and microstructural evolution of alumina and zirconia ceramics and the combination of them.
Part of the book: Sintering Technology