SiO2-Al2O3-Y2O3 glasses exhibit high glass transition temperatures, water corrosion resistance and good mechanical properties. These properties suggest that yttrium aluminosilicate glasses could potentially replace the borosilicate glasses usually used for immobilization of nuclear wastes. At the same time, yttrium can be used to simulate actinides.
During waste immobilization, crystallization of the glassy matrix must be avoided or at least controlled, thus, the understanding of glass crystallization kinetics is essential.
We found by XRD that the crystalline phases present on heat treatments are yttrium disilicate and sillimanite/mullite. By optical microscopy on polished cross-sections we could only identify highly yttrium enriched crystals which we associate with yttrium disilicate crystals.
In this paper we measure the surface density of nucleation sites Ns in as obtained splat cooled pieces obtaining values of about 1.5 · 1011 nucleus · m-2. Crystal growth rate U in the temperature range 1000-1040
C varies in the range 8-13 μm · h-1. These data are useful for designing sintering or melting thermal paths of YAS glasses in order to control their microstructure. We show the effect of glass particle size on DTA results: crystallization peaks moves towards lower temperatures for smaller particle size, which confirms that mainly surface nucleation is taking place on heating.