Journal of Materials Research


Densification and grain growth of Al-doped ZnO

Jiaping Hana1, P. Q. Mantasa1 and A. M. R. Senosa1

a1 Department of Ceramic and Glass Engineering/UIMC, University of Aveiro, 3810–193 Aveiro, Portugal


The densification and grain growth of ZnO doped with Al from 0.08 to 1.2 mol% were investigated during isothermal sintering between 1100 and 1400 °C. The Al dopant significantly inhibited the grain growth of ZnO and increased the grain growth exponent from 3 for pure ZnO to 4–6 for Al-doped ZnO. The grain growth activation energy was also changed from approximately 200 kJ/mol for pure ZnO to approximately 480 kJ/mol for Al-doped ZnO. The results of x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy showed that a ZnAl2O4 spinel phase existed as a second phase at the ZnO grain boundaries in Al-doped ZnO specimens. The spinel particles exerted an effective drag (pinning) on the migration of ZnO grain boundaries. The analyses of the Al doping effect on the densification rate provided evidence that the driving force for densification was reduced by the second-phase particles. A mechanism of pore surface drag (pinning) on densification equivalent to the observed drag (pinning) of grain boundaries on grain growth was proposed.

(Received June 12 2000)

(Accepted November 03 2000)