On the fabrication of diatomite earth-based ceramics with multiscale porosity

Yuliya Kan, Alexei I. Salimon, Philipp V. Sapozhnikov, Pavel A. Somov, Joris Everaerts, and Alexander M. Korsunsky, Member, IAENG

Abstract— The hydrated silica frustules (exoskeletons) of diatomic algae are a prominent and fascinating example of Nature’s neat nanostructuration [1], achieved with low temperature and pressure processes, without the use of aggressive chemicals, and on the global scale. There is a growing interest in understanding and exploiting nature-like processes to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of industrial fabrication. The present paper reports the results obtained during the fabrication of bulk porous silica ceramics by sintering and freeze-casting of diatomite earth slurries with the purpose of preserving and creating multi-scale porosity at the nano-, micro-, and macro-scale. In the course of fabrication processing, the samples were characterized by X-ray powder diffraction as a means of providing phase identification and observing phase transitions in silica. The slurry preparation was optimized to ensure consistent properties of the obtained hierarchically structured materials (diatomite earth poroids) for biomedical applications.

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