Pressureless Sintering of Zirconium Diboride


Zirconium diboride (ZrB2) ceramics were sintered to a relative density of ∼98% without applied external pressure. Densification studies were performed in the temperature range of 1900°-2150°C. Examination of bulk density as a function of temperature revealed that shrinkage started at ∼2100°C, with significant densification occurring at only 2150°C. At 2150°C, isothermal holds were used to determine the effect of time on relative density and microstructure. For a hold time of 540 min at 2150°C, ZrB2 pellets reached an average density of 6.02±0.04 g/cm3 (98% of theoretical) with an average grain size of 9.0±5.6 μm. Four-point bend strength, elastic modulus, and Vickers' hardness were measured for sintered ZrB2 and compared with values reported for hot-pressed materials. Vickers' hardness of sintered ZrB2 was 14.5±2.6 GPa, which was significantly lower when compared with 23 GPa for hot-pressed ZrB2. Strength and elastic modulus of the ZrB2 were 444±30 MPa and 454 GPa, which were comparable with values reported for hot-pressed ZrB2. The ability to densify ZrB2 ceramics without hot pressing should enable near-net shape processing, which would significantly reduce the cost of fabricating ZrB2 components compared with conventional hot pressing and machining.


Materials Science and Engineering


United States. Air Force. Office of Scientific Research
United States. Department of Education

Keywords and Phrases

Zirconium Diboride; Boron; Sintering; Zirconium

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0002-7820; 1551-2916

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2006 American Ceramic Society, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2006