Experimental Mechanics

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 123–129 | Cite as

Mechanical Properties of Transparent Polycrystalline Alumina Ceramics Processed Using an Environmentally Benign Thermal Gel Casting Process

  • G. SundararajanEmail author
  • P. Biswas
  • N. Eswara Prasad


Technological advancements in ceramic powder synthesis, shaping and sintering have made it possible to tailor the microstructural, mechanical and optical property relationships in the case of advanced transparent ceramic materials. Transparent polycrystalline alumina (TPCA) is the hardest known transparent ceramic and one of the emerging candidate materials for transparent armour applications. The prerequisites for obtaining transparency with the high hardness, is to achieve the sintered average grain sizes <1 μm in combination with density close to the theoretical value. This paper outlines the processing of TPCA by an environmentally benign methyl cellulose based thermal gel casting (MCTG) process, which is employed for the first time in shaping of the TPCA. The green specimens shaped through this technique were pressureless sintered (PLS) to >96 % density at an optimum temperature of 1350 °C. The post sintering by Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) at an optimum temperature of 1350 °C and a pressure of 195 MPa resulted in >99.5 % of the theoretical density and a grain size of 0.7 μm. For the sake of comparison, conventional polycrystalline alumina samples (non-transparent) were also processed by sintering at 1550 °C under PLS condition with nearly the same densities (designated as PCA). The TPCA thus developed exhibit a combination of high hardness of 21 GPa, flexural strength of 550 MPa and excellent fracture resistance properties as compared to conventional PCA samples.


Submicron alumina Hot isostatic pressing Microstructure Hardness Fracture toughness Fracture energy 



One of the authors (NEP) is grateful to Dr. K Tamilmani, Distinguished Scientist and CE (Airworthiness), CEMILAC for his encouragement and support.


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Copyright information

© Society for Experimental Mechanics 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New MaterialsHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness (Materials), CEMILACHyderabadIndia

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