Mechanical Activation as Sintering Pre-treatment of Talc for Steatite Ceramics
The effect of vibratory mill induced mechanical activation on the change of the particle size, crystallinity and the phase transformations of the minerals present in the activated material, was studied with the purpose of decreasing of the sintering temperature of talc (Mg3Si4O10(OH)2) as raw material which is the basic component of the steatite ceramics. The aims of the conducted investigation were, also, increasing of the reactivity of the comminuted raw material and establishing of the optimal activation period. The properties of the activated talc induced by mechanical force were expressed in form of the grain inertia change which was measured by means of automatic grain counter. Mechanically activated grains are the most convenient mineral form for physical concentration since the energy change of the mill-material system is recorded on them. The effect of dry grinding on the structure, particle size and shape of talc was studied by means of XRD, DTA and SEM/EDS methods. Activation of talc produced an increase of the starting surface area value progressively from 4.5 m2/g up to a maximum of 108.5 m2/g achieved at 30 min. A subsequent decrease of rate of surface area change and the rate of size reduction were observed following the prolonged grinding. Talc activated in vibratory mill for optimal 30 min showed properties which positively influence the decrease of sintering temperature and the increase of the sintering rate of steatite ceramics.
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