Investigation of Some Structural and Mechanical Properties of Ba0.5CaxSr0.5-xTiO3 Ceramics


Ba0.5CaxSr0.5-xTiO3 (BCST) ceramics, where x = 0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3 and 0.4, were prepared by the conventional solid state reaction technique. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis confirmed the formation of BST perovskite phase structure besides some calcium oxide peaks for samples with high Ca content, x. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) results confirmed the XRD results, i.e., as x increased, the average grain size decreased. Energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis verified the increase of the amount of Ca element with increasing of its content. Mechanical properties such as ultrasonic attenuation, longitudinal wave velocity, and longitudinal elastic modulus were studied by an ultrasonic pulse echo technique at 2 MHz frequency. Investigations of ceramic microstructures and mechanical properties showed their dependence on composition. Increasing of Ca content resulted in a decrease in bulk density and ultrasonic attenuation and an increase in porosity, velocity, and modulus. High temperature ultrasonic studies showed, in addition to Curie phase transition, three or more relaxation peaks and its origin was investigated.

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El-Deen, L. , Badr, M. , Khafagy, A. and Nassar, D. (2013) Investigation of Some Structural and Mechanical Properties of Ba0.5CaxSr0.5-xTiO3 Ceramics. Crystal Structure Theory and Applications, 2, 132-138. doi: 10.4236/csta.2013.23018.

1. Introduction

BaTiO3 and SrTiO3 are representatives for ABO3-type perovskite materials. BaTiO3 is usually a ferroelectric material with Curie temperature of 120˚C. SrTiO3 is a paraelectric one with no ferroelectric phase transition [1]. Nevertheless, the combined production of BaTiO3 and SrTiO3 (i.e., Ba1−xSrxTiO3) is a solid solution system between BaTiO3 and SrTiO3. Therefore, Ba1−xSrxTiO3 (BST) has the simultaneous advantage of high dielectric constant of BaTiO3 and the structural stability of SrTiO3 [1,2]. These ferroelectric materials have attracted considerable attention owing to their unique properties such as chemical stability, high permittivity, high tunability, and low dielectric losses. Furthermore, BST has shown a great promise in applications, such as phase shifting elements in phased array antennas and as tuning elements in devices operating at microwave frequencies [1,3-9]. In view of their merits, the investigation on BST solid solution is therefore significantly important [1,2,9,10]. Furthermore, the Curie temperature of BST can be controlled by adjusting the Ba/Sr ratio and/or doping ions to substitute for A or B sites in the ABO3 perovskite systems [11,12].

In BaTiO3 materials, an elastic modulus anomaly and a mechanical loss peak are induced at three phase transitions: cubic-tetragonal (ferroelectric-paraelectric), tetragonal-orthorhombic, and orthorhombic-rhombohedra. Some losses due to relaxation processes have been observed in materials having coarse grains in ferroelectric phase [13]. These relaxations were ascribed to the interaction between domain walls and oxygen vacancies diffusion.

The Ba0.5Sr0.5TiO3 (BST) material exhibits the transition from the ferroelectric state to the paraelectric state below room temperature [14]. In a recent work [15], we have investigated the impact of changing barium content on the mechanical properties (such as elastic modulus, attenuation, and velocity of ultrasonic waves) and Curie transition of BaxSr1−xTiO3 ceramics.  In this work, we aim to investigate thoroughly the effect of Ca-doping on the structural and mechanical properties of Ba0.5CaxSr0.5−xTiO3 (BCST) ceramics with x = 0.0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3 and 0.4. X-ray diffraction, SEM, EDX, and ultrasonic techniques (at a frequency of 2 MHz) were also used to characterize the structure and phase transitions of these ceramics.

2. Materials and Methods

Calcium-doped ceramics with the chemical formula Ba0.5CaxSr0.5−xTiO3 (BCST), where x = 0.0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, and 0.4, were prepared by the conventional solid state reaction technique according to the following reaction:

For all prepared samples, the reagent grade chemicals of high purity (99.99%) BaCO3, SrCO3, CaO and TiO2 powders were used as the raw materials and weighed according to the above indicated compositions.

The raw materials were weighed and mixed in the appropriate ratios. Mixtures of required ceramics were first ground thoroughly by a ball milling for 4 h to insure homogeneity. Then, they were calcined at 1100˚C for 11 h in alumina crucibles opened to the air. The calcined compositions were again ground for 6 h. The produced fine calcinated powders were pressed into disc-shaped pellets with 10mm in diameter and 0.6 ~ 1.5 mm in thickness at an iso-static pressure of 5 tons with polyethylene glycol [(C2H4O)n.H2O] as an organic binder with 2.0% of the weight of the sample. The pelletized samples were finally sintered at 1250˚C for 6h.

The bulk density of ceramics was measured by the conventional Archimedean method. X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns were recorded with Bruker AXS X-ray diffractometer (D8 Advance) using Cu Kα radiation. The two SEM and EDX measurements were made on JEOL scanning electron microscope (JXA-840A Electron Probe Microanalyzer, INCA x-sight, Oxford Instruments) for the elemental analysis and chemical characterization of the samples. Attenuation of ultrasonic waves (α), longitudinal velocity of wave propagation (VL), and the longitudinal elastic modulus (L) of tested ceramics were determined by employing the conventional pulse-echo technique at room temperature and during heating as has been reported elsewhere [15].

3. Results

The Archimedean bulk density (ρexp) and the theoretical density (ρx) from the X-ray diffraction patterns of BCST prepared samples were used  to calculate the percentage porosity (Table 1) according to the equation % porosity = (ρx − ρexp)/ρx [16]. Figure 1 shows variations of both the bulk density and porosity of prepared BCST ceramics with the Ca content x where 0.0 ≤ x ≤ 0.4. This figure revealed a linear decease in the density from 4803 to 4339 kg/m3 as x increased from 0 to 0.4, in harmony with previously reported results [17-19]. Whereas, the percent porosity has increased linearly from 13.4% to 16.5%, for the same variation in Ca content.

Figure 2 shows the room temperature X-ray diffract-graphs for all tested BCST ceramics between 20˚ and 80˚. The intensity of peaks for different values of Ca content, x, were normalized and shifted for clarity pur-

Table 1. The variation of the density (bulk density, ρexp, and theoretical density, ρx) the percent porosity, the ultrasonic attenuation, longitudinal velocity, modulus, and lattice parameter of BCST ceramics with different values of Ca content, x.

Figure 1. Variation of the density and porosity with the Ca content of Ba0.5CaxSr0.5−xTiO3 ceramics sintered at 1250˚C for 6 h.

Figure 2. XRD patterns of B0.5CaxSr0.5−xTiO3 (BCST) ceramics with Ca content x = 0.0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3 and 0.4.

poses. All peaks were indexed in the cubic structure due to their observed reflections of different polycrystalline orientations [20-22] as indicated by the (110) index; the major peak of highest intensity. Variation of the lattice parameter a (Å) with different Ca content was listed in Table 1.

The chemical compositions of tested BCST ceramics were determined from EDX spectra and listed in Table 2. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is a powerful experimental technique to determine the particle size, pore concentration, and inclusions in a material. Figures 3(a)-(d) show the scanning electron micrographs taken at room temperature of BCST ceramics with Ca content in the range 0.0 ≤ x ≤ 0.4. The SEM for x = 0.2 was not included in this figure for brevity reasons. These micrographs describe the surface property of samples, microstructure, size, and distribution of particles. Whereas, the average grain size dependence (as determined from XRD and SEM investigations) on the Ca content was illustrated in Figure 4.

Figure 5 shows the regression line which illustrates the variation of ultrasonic attenuation (α) of ultrasonic waves, measured at room temperature, with the Ca content of the prepared Ba0.5CaSr0.5-xTiO3 ceramics sintered at 1250˚C for 6 h. Inspection of the figure reveals that α is dependent on the composition of the tested ceramic, i.e., it is exponentially decreased with increasing of Ca content over the above mentioned investigated range (see also Table 1).

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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