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The most important applications of ZrB2

The most important
applications of ZrB2 are in the high-temperature fields where it is used as a
refractory material; hence, the effect of alumina on the oxidation rate of ZrB2
ceramic should be essentially investigated. Few reports exist on the high-temperature
oxidation resistance of ZrB2– Al2O3 composites. Recently, Li et al. Examined
the oxidation kinetics of Al2O3/ZrB2/ZrO2 composite prepared by mixing and
hot-pressing. Ceramic matrix composites of high-temperature borides and other
industrial ceramic materials have been interesting in recent years. Alumina is
one of the most commonly used ceramics in various applications such as grinding
media, cutting tools, crucibles, tube furnaces, and liners, owing to its
several intrinsic characteristics like high hardness, high melting point, good
chemical inertness, high wear resistance, and low cost. Nevertheless, some
mechanical properties of alumina are not good enough for several applications.
The mechanical strength of these materials can significantly improve by adding
strong compounds like zirconium diboride. TiB2–Al2O3 composite prepared by
mixing alumina and diboride powders showed excellent mechanical properties. All
research works performed on the ZrB2 synthesis using Al as a reducing agent
were carried out by thermally combustive SHS methods rather than MSR reactions.
Furthermore, the reaction mechanism has not also been clearly explained. The
aim of the present work, therefore, was to investigate the mechanosynthesis of
ZrB2–Al2O3 powder by aluminothermic reduction using ZrO2 and B2O3 as starting
materials and using mechanically induced self-sustaining reaction (MSR), which
has not been reported so far. The mechanistic explanation of ZrB2 formation in
this system was another target, which has been accomplished through the
investigation of sub-reactions and the study of the influence of the
stoichiometry of the reactants.
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