Yttria stabilized zirconia (8 mol%) composites were fabricated by tape casting with either alumina powder or alumina whiskers, and pressureless sintered. Sintering behaviour, ionic conductivity and mechanical strength were analysed. For all compositions analysed, increasing alumina content reduced the sintered density. For whisker-reinforced zirconia, the rigid whiskers prevented matrix densification along their axis. The ionic conductivity was measured by the complex impedance method from 500-1000 °C and the activation energy for ionic conduction calculated over that range. The ionic conductivity of the alumina-zirconia composites decreased with increasing alumina content as expected by the rule of mixtures. However, the ionic conductivity of the whisker-zirconia composites decreased more than expected possibly due to contamination from the whiskers. The strength of the whisker-zirconia composites was also found to be affected by the porosity. At 5 vol%, the average strength was measured at 39.9 kgf mm-2, which decreased to 24 kgf mm-2 at 20 vol%.
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