Qualitative X-ray Diffraction Analysis of Metastable Tetragonal (t′) Zirconia


  • Iain R. Gibson,

    1. Department of Chemistry, University of Aberdeen, Meston Walk, Aberdeen AB9 2UE, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Current address: IRC in Biomedical Materials, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, E1 4NS, United Kingdom.

  • John T. S. Irvine

    1. School of Chemistry, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, KY16 9ST, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author

  • T. E. Mitchell—contributing editor

  • Based in part of the thesis submitted by I. R. Gibson for the Ph.D. in chemistry, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom, 1995.

  • Supported by the University of Aberdeen, U.K., and Tioxide Specialties Ltd., U.K. (IG), and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for funding of equipment.


The identification and discrimination of cubic (c) and metastable t′-zirconia phases by conventional X-ray diffraction has proved to be a difficult problem because of the crystallographic similarities of the two phases. In this study, the c-phase and t′-phase in biphasic metastable zirconia samples have been successfully distinguished by X-ray diffraction; data were collected using a high-resolution powder diffractometer with monochromatic radiation and the peak shapes were fitted using a peak-fitting program to distinguish the different phases. From this study, the minimum temperature, T0, at which the t′-phase can be obtained on cooling rapidly compositions in the range 3–7 mol% Y2O3–ZrO2 to room temperature was estimated as ∼1425°C. For a constant temperature above 1425°C, the lattice parameters of the t′-phase of 3–7 mol% Y2O3–ZrO2 compositions within the two-phase region of the phase diagram were unaffected by the yttria content; only the amount of t′-phase formed was affected by the yttria content.