Influence of Ethylene Glycol on the Mullite Crystallization Processes Analyzed by Rietveld Refinement

Flaviano Willians Fernandes, Tiago Moreira Bastos Campos, Luciana De Simone Cividanes, João Paulo Barros Machado, Evelyn Alves Nunes Simonetti, Gilmar Patrocinio Thim


Mullite is an excellent structural material due to its high temperature stability, high electrical insulation capabilities and creep resistance. This material has a number of technological applications, such as rocket nozzles used in the aerospace industry. In this work, mullite was obtained by sol-gel process, using silicic sol, aluminum nitrate and ethylene glycol, besides the following volume ratios of silica sol dispersion to ethylene glycol: 1/0; 1/1; 1/2; and 1/3. After drying, the samples were thermal treated at temperatures of 1,000; 1,100; 1,200 and 1,250°C. The samples were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and specific surface area (Bruner-Emmett-Teller – BET). SEM showed that mullite particles are fine and nearly equiaxed. The sample without ethylene glycol showed 3/2 mullite after heat treatment at 1,250°C. The sample with intermediate ethylene glycol concentration presented two crystallization processes: the first at 1,000°C forming mullite and spinel phases, and the second at 1,250°C forming only 3/2 mullite. However, the sample with the highest ethylene glycol concentration crystallized directly to mullite at 1,000°C with the highest yield. There is a strong dependence on the specific surface area with temperature. The Rietveld refinement showed that the a cell lattice of mullite and the Al/Si molar ratio in the mullite formula depend on the ethylene glycol presence and on the calcination temperature. The lattice parameters b and c are not dependent on the alumina content, but the parameter a increases with the increase in the alumina content. Samples prepared with higher ethylene glycol concentrations reached higher mullite yields at lower temperatures.


Mullite; sol-gel; ethylene glycol

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