SYNTHESIS OF TITANIUM AND ZIRCONIUM NITRIDES
BY BURNING MIXTURES OF THEIR OXIDES
WITH ALUMINUM NANOPOWDER IN AIR
Yu. A. Amel’kovich,
A. P. Astankova,
L. O. Tolbanova,
and A. P. Il’in
Translated from Novye Ogneupory, No. 11, pp. 64 – 67, November, 2007.
Original article submitted September 12, 2007.
Results of a study of the products of burning mixtures of titania and zirconia with aluminum nanopowder in air
are described. It is shown that when these mixtures burn in air the TiN and ZrN phases are stabilized. Accord
ing to the data of x-ray diffraction phase analysis the materials contain 55% ZrN and 24% TiN. It is most
probable that the TiN and ZrN form through formation of element metals.
The recent state of science and technology requires crea-
tion of new materials capable of withstanding high tempera-
tures and operating in chemically aggressive media. Among
the ceramic materials much attention is attracted today to nit-
rides of groups III and IV of the Periodic System. It is known
that ceramics based on aluminum nitride possess high ther-
mal conductivity [280 W/(m·K)], which is comparable to
that of metallic silver. At the same time, AlN is a good di-
electric (< 10
W·m), has a high enough hardness (12 GPa),
and is nonwettable by liquid metals (aluminum, gallium,
etc.). Zirconium nitride is a material with high hardness and
resistance to alkalis. Coatings from titanium nitride possess
an elevated wear resistance. Due to their peculiar properties
ceramics and coatings based in titanium and zirconium
nitrides present interest for engineering and various techno
The known commercial methods for obtaining titanium
and zirconium nitrides, including that of self-propagating
high-temperature synthesis (SHS), have some disadvantages,
i.e., require intricate equipment and occur under pressure in
the presence of pure nitrogen. SHS products are densely
sintered materials and are therefore disintegrated in ball
mills, which is a high-energy-consuming process.
A scientific direction known as “chemical bonding of air
nitrogen due to combustion of powder materials and boron”
has been developed at the High-Voltage Research Institute of
the Tomsk Polytechnic University and is used as a method
for fabricating ceramic nitride-containing materials (the com
bustion products contain over 50 mass % various nitrides ).
Synthesis of nitride-containing ceramic powders due to burn-
ing of metal powders in air  has some advantages over
commercial methods and SHS, i.e., lower consumption of
energy, no necessity for intricate equipment, and presence of
gradually varying layers between different crystalline
phases. Combustion of nanopowders yields up to 90% pro-
ducts with submicron sizes .
It is known that aluminum, titanium, and zirconium ex-
hibit reducing properties at high temperatures . For example,
in combustion of aluminum thermit (Fe
+ Al) aluminum
reduces iron oxide (III) to metallic iron. The reducing capa
city of powdered aluminum in combustion has also been
studied for Cr
, NiO, and CoO mixtures with
aluminum. The use of titanium and zirconium powders at the
commercial scale is fraught with a danger of their inflamma
tion . In addition, titanium and zirconium powders are less
expensive products than their oxides. We have no published
data on the products of combustion of zirconia mixtures with
aluminum nanopowders. The aim of the present work con
sisted in studying the phase composition of the products of
synthesis due to burning titania and zirconia mixtures with
aluminum nanopowders in air.
Methods of experiment. The objects of our study were
commercial powders of TiO
of grade ch.d.a. and
aluminum nanopowder (NPAl) obtained by electric explo
sion of thin wires in an argon medium. This method is based
on sputtering metallic conductors by powerful current pulses
(up to 500 kA) due to discharge of a capacitor bank .
The energy introduced into the conductor was equal to 1.4
of its sublimation energy. The nanopowders were obtained in
a UDP-5G pilot installation of the High-Voltage Research
Refractories and Industrial Ceramics Vol. 48, No. 6, 2007
1083-4877/07/4806-0425 © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
Tomsk Polytechnic University, Russia.