Role of cyclic ether and solvent in a non-alkoxide sol-gel synthesis of yttria-stabilized zirconia nanoparticles

Christopher N. Chervin, Brady J. Clapsaddle, Hsiang Wei Chiu, Alexander E. Gash, Joe H. Satcher, Susan M. Kauzlarich

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47 Scopus citations


The effects of cyclic ether (epoxide versus oxetane), solvent, and drying method were examined for a non-alkoxide sol-gel synthesis of yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ). YSZ sol-gel materials, from 3 to 25 mol % Y 2O 3, were successfully prepared with either propylene oxide (PO) or trimethylene oxide (TMO) in both aqueous and mixed ethanol-water solutions of Zr 4+ and Y 3+ chlorides. Supercritical drying (aerogels) produced fine, nanoparticulate networks, whereas drying under ambient conditions (xerogels) resulted in heterogeneous micrometer-sized hard agglomerates. The resulting materials were characterized using powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, nitrogen adsorption/desorption analysis, and elemental analysis by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy. The cyclic ether and solvent were found to be critical factors in the resulting as-prepared aerogel surface area and morphology. For a given solvent, aerogels prepared with PO had higher surface areas than did those prepared with TMO. For example, the surface areas of aerogels prepared in water were 453 and 295 m 2/g for PO and TMO, respectively. Following calcination to 550 °C, however, the crystallized YSZ powders were similar, consisting of homogeneous nanoparticles (∼10 nm) with spherical morphologies and high surface areas (> 100 m 2/g). Elemental analysis, XRD, and electron microscopy indicated that Y 2O 3 and ZrO 2 formed a homogeneous nanostructure over a wide range of Zr/Y ratios, corresponding to 3-25 mol % Y 2O 3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4865-4874
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 3 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Materials Science(all)


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