Surface enthalpy, enthalpy of water adsorption, and phase stability in nanocrystalline monoclinic zirconia

A. V. Radha, Oscar Bomati-Miguel, Sergey V. Ushakov, Alexandra Navrotsky, Pedro Tartaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


A fundamental issue that remains to be solved when approaching the nanoscale is how the size induces transformation among different polymorphic structures. Understanding the size-induced transformation among the different polymorphic structures is essential for widespread use of nanostructured materials in technological applications. Herein, we report water adsorption and high-temperature solution calorimetry experiments on a set of samples of single-phase monoclinic zirconia with different surface areas. Essential to the success of the study has been the use of a new ternary water-in-oil/water liquid solvothermal method that allows the preparation of monoclinic zirconia nanoparticles with a broad range of (BET) Brunauer-Emmett-Teller surface area values. Thus, the surface enthalpy for anhydrous monoclinic zirconia is reported for the first time, while that for the hydrous surface is a significant improvement over the previously reported value. Combining these data with previously published surface enthalpy for nanocrystalline tetragonal zirconia, we have calculated the stability crossovers between monoclinic and tetragonal phases to take place at a particle size of 28 ± 6 nm for hydrous zirconia and 34 ± 5 nm for anhydrous zirconia. Below these particle sizes, tetragonal hydrous and anhydrous phases of zirconia become thermodynamically stable. These results are within the margin of the theoretical estimation and confirm the importance of the presence of water vapor on the transformation of nanostructured materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry


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