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Porous Mullite Ceramics Formed by Direct Consolidation Using Native and Granular Cold-Water-Soluble Starches



In this article, the processing and microstructures of porous mullite bodies prepared by modifying the conventional route of the starch consolidation casting method were studied. The proposed route, called the “soluble route”, involves the use of native starches (i.e., potato, cassava, and corn starches) and a synthesized granular cold-water-soluble (GCWS) starch. Stable aqueous mullite-starch suspensions (0.25 starch volume fraction of 40 vol% total solids) were prepared by mixing. The total starch content was a mixture of ungelatinized native starch and GCWS starch with a 1:10 ratio of GCWS starch to total starch. Steady-state shear flow properties of the suspensions were analyzed by measuring viscosity. The addition of CGWS starch increased the starting suspension viscosity and thus prevented the particle segregation. Porous mullite bodies were obtained by heating (80°C, 2 h) the suspensions in metallic molds and by drying (40°C, 24 h) and sintering (1650°C, 2 h) the green disks after burning out the starch (650°C, 2 h). Green bodies obtained before and after the burning-out process, and the sintered disks were characterized with density and porosity measurements (Archimedes method) and microstructural analysis by scanning electron microscopy. The phases generated after the sintering process were determined by X-ray diffraction analysis, and pore size distributions were studied by Hg-porosimetry. The obtained results showed that the use of the GCWS starch made the shaping of homogeneous mullite bodies without cracks or deformations possible along with the development of controlled porous microstructures.