Dispersions of uniform submicron spherical particles consisting of silica cores and yttria coatings, or vice versa, were prepared by a precipitation technique. The overall size of the particles and the thickness of the shells could be varied over a wide range. Such powders were used to form green bodies by sedimentation, centrifugation, or pressure filtration, and the density and the pore size distribution of the resulting solids were evaluated. The green bodies were sintered and the changes in density, phases, and microstructure were followed with temperature. In general, the coated powders exhibited enhanced densification. On processing composite solids at temperatures <1000 °C, the formation of Y2Si2O7 took place, which caused a pronounced shrinkage of the samples. Powders of coated particles having the same silica/yttria ratios sintered at lower temperatures when the shell was composed of silica rather than of yttria. When either silica or yttria were in molar excess in the coated particles, the sintered products had a mixed composition of Y2Si2O7 and the component in excess. By terminating the sintering process before the grain growth started, the solids displayed a well-defined microstructure with a uniform distribution of areas of one phase in the matrix of the matter in excess. This property was mainly due to the uniformity of initial powders in terms of the particle size and the coating.
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