A. Geiculescu, H. G. Spencer
May 1, 1999
Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology
A precursor gel was prepared by desiccation of an aqueous solution of zirconium acetate and pyrolyzed to form crystalline powders in selected gas environments. Thermal analysis, X-ray powder diffraction, mass spectrometry and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy were used to investigate the decomposition of the gel and the transformations occurring during pyrolysis to 800°C in nitrogen, air and oxygen. Three transition temperatures were detected: the amorphous-to-cubic crystal transformation, cubic-to-tetragonal transformation, and the initiation of tetragonal-to-monoclinic transition. The presence of molecular oxygen decreased the crystallization temperature, increased the grain size of the tetragonal crystals formed and decreased the temperature at which the tetragonal-to-monoclinic transformation was initiated. The decrease in the crystallization temperature in the presence of oxygen occurred despite an increase in the temperature corresponding to the loss of the major portion of the organic component of the gel.