Preparation of Zirconium Dioxide by Wet Method and Fire Method

Zirconium dioxide is a high-temperature and corrosion-resistant ceramic material. It has three crystal structures, and its volume changes with crystal transformation:

1) When the temperature is lower than 1373K, it is a monoclinic crystal,

2) It is a tetragonal crystal at a temperature of 1373~2173K,

3) When the temperature is higher than 2173K, it is a cubic crystal.

In order to overcome the shortcomings of the unstable crystal form of zirconia, partially stabilized zirconia has been developed, and they have become important fine ceramic materials.

The industrial production methods of zirconia can be divided into the wet method and the fire method. The purity of the product obtained by the wet method can generally reach about 99%, but the production process is relatively long. The purity of the product obtained by the fire method is about 95% to 98%.

Zirconium dioxide is produced by the wet method of calcining zirconium oxychloride at high temperatures to decompose it into zirconium dioxide with a purity of 99.5%. It can also be prepared by dissolving zirconium oxychloride in water, precipitating with ammonia water, washing, drying, and calcining. High-purity zirconium dioxide can be produced using zirconium oxychloride purified by repeated recrystallization as raw material.

The fire method includes the electric melting method and the plasma metallurgy method. The electromelting method is to mix zircon and carbon evenly, melt in an electric arc furnace, silicon is removed in the gaseous form of silicon monoxide, and the produced zirconia is crushed and sized to obtain coarse zirconia. The plasma metallurgy method is to thermally dissociate zircon into zirconium dioxide and active silicon dioxide in the plasma area at a high temperature, then wash away the silicon dioxide in the dissociated products with hot lye to obtain zirconium dioxide.

zirconia powder

The method of producing products is divided into zirconia production and stabilized zirconia production process. Stabilized zirconia is used to produce stabilized zirconia for industrial refractory materials, and most of them are produced by electric melting. Adding carbon and calcium oxide as a stabilizer in the zircon electric melting process, while removing silicon, zirconia, and calcium oxide react to form a solid solution, and then crush and granulate to obtain stable zirconia.

Stabilized and partially stabilized zirconia used in fine ceramics is generally prepared by the wet method. The most mature and commonly used method is the neutralization precipitation method. Dissolve the purified zirconium oxychloride with pure water, filter to remove insoluble matter, adjust the concentration of zirconium in the solution, and add the required amount of dichloride, then filter, dry and calcinate. Calcined products can be crushed to obtain ultra-fine stable zirconia powder.

Partially stabilized zirconia is obtained by controlling the amount of stabilizer added so that it is not enough to achieve complete stability. Partially stabilized zirconia has high strength and thermal shock resistance and is widely used in structural ceramics.

With the rapid development of the fine ceramics industry, zirconia ultrafine powder with small particle size, high purity, and uniform composition is required to manufacture devices with high density, low shrinkage, and unique properties. For this reason, people have proposed new technologies and new processes for producing ultrafine zirconia powder, mainly including hydrolysis, hydrothermal synthesis, and preparation of organic zirconium compounds. These new technologies and processes have good prospects for industrial application.

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Application and Prospect Analysis of Zirconium

Zirconium is a metal material with superior physical and chemical characteristics. It is used in a variety of industrial, scientific, and technological applications. The following is an analysis of the uses and prospects of zirconium from different angles.

Zirconium Used in Nuclear Energy

Zirconium is one of the essential elements in the realm of nuclear energy due to its physical characteristics. Fuel rods and structural components for nuclear reactors can be manufactured with zirconium alloys. The high melting point, corrosion resistance, high strength, and high-temperature stability of zirconium alloys make them ideal materials for producing nuclear reactor fuel rods. Statistics show that every year, roughly 50 tons of zirconium alloys are used in the production of nuclear reactors worldwide.

Zirconium Used in Aerospace Industry

Zirconium is frequently utilized in the aerospace industry due to its superior mechanical qualities and strong temperature endurance. Zirconium alloys can be used to create components for aero engines such as blades, nozzles, and combustion chambers. Zirconium alloys can be utilized for a variety of components, including spacecraft hulls, turbines, and combustion chambers. They have exceptional qualities that can enhance spaceship performance, including lightweight, high strength, and high-temperature durability.

Zirconium Use in Medical Field

Zirconium is used extensively in the medical industry. Drugs can be radiolabeled using the zirconium isotope zirconium-89 for the detection and management of certain malignant disorders. Zirconium alloys have high strength, strong biocompatibility, and corrosion resistance, which can increase long-term durability and biological compatibility, and they can also be utilized to make artificial joints, dental implants, and other biomedical materials.

Zirconium Used in Chemical Industry

The chemical sector additionally employs extensive use of zirconium. Zirconium compounds are used in a variety of industries, including oxidants, antiseptics, catalyst supports, and catalysts. Because zirconium alloys offer great corrosion resistance, high-temperature stability, and long-term use in hostile chemical environments, they can also be utilized to make reactors, heat exchangers, reactors, and other equipment.

Zirconium Used in Electronics

Zirconium is also widely used in the field of electronics. Zirconium alloys and zirconates can both be used to create capacitors and battery electrodes, respectively. The primary areas of zirconium used in the electronics sector are nanotechnology and high-temperature superconducting materials. Zirconium can be used as an addition to boost the superconducting temperature and current density of high-temperature superconducting materials. Zirconium is also frequently utilized in nanotechnology and is capable of producing nanotubes, nanocrystals, and nanomaterials.

Zirconium Used in Metal Surface Coating

To stop corrosion and increase the hardness of metal surfaces, zirconium can be utilized in the production of surface coatings. Zirconium alloys can also be used to create metal coatings that are resistant to corrosion at high temperatures and have great corrosion resistance. Zirconium alloys are also perfect for producing drill bits, saw blades, and other tool materials due to their wear durability, and corrosion resistance.

Related reading: Where Zirconium is Used?


To sum up, zirconium has significant uses in the sectors of nuclear energy, aircraft, medical treatment, the chemical industry, electronics, and metal surface coating due to its exceptional physical and chemical qualities. The sustainable development of zirconium and the creation and use of ecologically friendly materials will also become popular trends as people’s awareness of environmental protection rises, further broadening the material’s potential uses.