ABSTRACT

Compositional and microstructural analysis of mullites in porcelain whitewares obtained by the firing of two blends of identical triaxial composition using a kaolin B consisting of ‘higher-crystallinity’ kaolinite or a finer halloysitic kaolin M of lower crystal order was performed. No significant changes in the average Al2O3 contents (near the stoichiometric composition 3:2) of the mullites were observed. Fast and slow firing at the same temperature using B or M kaolin yielded different mullite contents. The Warren–Averbach method showed increase of the D110 mullite crystallite size and crystallite size distributions with small shifts to greater values with increasing firing temperature for the same type of firing (slow or fast) using the same kaolin, as well as significant differences between fast and slow firing of the same blend at different temperatures for each kaolin. The higher maximum frequency distribution of crystallite size observed at the same firing temperature using blends with M kaolin suggests a clearer crystallite growth of mullite in this blend. The agreement between thickening perpendicular to prism faces and mean crystallite sizes <D110> of mullite were not always observed because the direction perpendicular to 110 planes is not preferred for growth.

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