The specific focus of this study is on the boehmite–water interaction during attrition milling of a boehmite prepared by thermal dehydroxylation of gibbsite. Various characterization studies confirm the formation of a new phase, bayerite (an Al-trihydroxide polymorph) during milling of boehmite with water as the dispersant. Bayerite is a more stable (thermodynamically) phase than boehmite. By forming bayerite, the free energy of the interacting system (consisting of disordered metastable boehmite and water) gets reduced. Such a transformation is of relevance in the digestion of Al-monohydrates in the Bayer process of alumina production. Furthermore, the presence of water during attrition milling itself is essential for the transformation. Bayerite does not form during attrition milling of the same boehmite in ethyl alcohol media and subsequent soaking in water up to 36 hours. Therefore, bayerite formation does not depend solely on structural degradation.
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The authors acknowledge Prof. S.P. Mehrotra (Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India) and Prof. S.K. Roy (Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, West Bengal, India) for their valuable inputs. Authors are also thankful to Mr. Manoranjan Jena for his help in TEM analysis. Graphic support from Mr. Nimai Halder is highly appreciated. The authors also acknowledge the support and encouragement from Dr. I. Chattoraj (Director, CSIR-National Metallurgical Laboratory, Jamshedpur, India) and his predecessor, Dr. S. Srikanth.
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Manuscript submitted July 22, 2019.
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Alex, T.C., Kailath, A.J. & Kumar, R. Al-Monohydrate (Boehmite) to Al-Trihydrate (Bayerite/Gibbsite) Transformation During High-Energy Milling. Metall Mater Trans B 51, 443–451 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11663-020-01771-6