Chemically bonded ceramics appear to be a promising alternative route for near-net shape fabrication of multi-phase ceramic matrix composites (CMC's). The hydraulic (and refractory) properties of fine mono-calcium aluminate (CaAl2O4) powders were used as the chemically bonding matrix phase, while calcia stabilized zirconia powders were the second phase material. Samples containing up to 70 wt% (55 vol%) zirconia have been successfully compacted and sintered.
Various processing techniques were evaluated. Processing was optimized based on material properties, dilatometry and simultaneous thermal analysis (DTA'TGA ). The physical characteristics of this novel CMC were characterized by hardness, density, and fracture toughness testing. Microstructures were evaluated by SEM and phase identification was verified using XRD.