Synthesis of Yttria Powders by Electrospray Pyrolysis
Electrospray atomization of high-concentration (∼400 g/L) chemical precursor solutions was applied to the synthesis of yttria powders. Conditions were found which led to high-quality powders, composed of dense, spheroidal, submicrometer, and nanocrystalline oxide particles. The precursor solutions were hydrated yttrium nitrates dissolved in n-propyl alcohol at concentrations ranging from 44.1 to 455 g/L. Electrospray atomization produced submicrometer precursor droplets which were dispersed in air and carried through an electric furnace for thermal decomposition at 500°C for several seconds residence time. X-ray powder diffraction patterns indicated the expected cubic phase. Transmission electron micrographs showed that the particle structure varied with solution composition, ranging from hollow, inflated spheres for 6-hydrated nitrates to dense spheroids for 5-hydrated nitrates. The use of 6-hydrated nitrates in the solutions appeared to form particle surfaces which were impermeable to alcohol vapor evolved during thermal decomposition, leading to hollow, inflated spheres.
© 1994 American Ceramic Society. Received August 21, 1992; approved September 27, 1993. Supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants Nos. CBT8813006 and CTS113191 and by GTE Laboratories, Inc., Waltham, MA.