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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2006, Article ID 98769, 8 pages

Effect of Pressure on Synthesis of Pr-Doped Zirconia Powders Produced by Microwave-Driven Hydrothermal Reaction

1Laboratory of Nanomaterials, Institute of High Pressure Physics, Polish Academy of Science, Sokolowska 29, Warsaw 01-142, Poland
2Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, Warsaw University of Technology, Woloska 141, Warsaw 02-507, Poland
3Department of Materials and Environmental Engineering, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via Vignolese 905/A, Modena 41100, Italy

Received 15 March 2006; Revised 19 December 2006; Accepted 20 December 2006

Copyright © 2006 A. Opalinska et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A high-pressure microwave reactor was used to study the hydrothermal synthesis of zirconia powders doped with 1 mol % Pr. The synthesis was performed in the pressure range from 2 to 8 MPa corresponding to a temperature range from 215C to 305C. This technology permits a synthesis of nanopowders in short time not limited by thermal inertia of the vessel. Microwave heating permits to avoid contact of the reactants with heating elements, and is thus particularly well suited for synthesis of doped nanopowders in high purity conditions. A mixture of ZrO2 particles with tetragonal and monoclinic crystalline phases, about 15 nm in size, was obtained. The p/T threshold of about 5-6 MPa/265–280C was necessary to obtain good quality of zirconia powder. A new method for quantitative description of grain-size distribution was applied, which is based on analysis of the fine structure of the X-ray diffraction line profiles. It permitted to follow separately the effect of synthesis conditions on the grain-size distribution of the monoclinic and tetragonal phases.