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Willemite Zn2SiO4 crystallizes in such a way that Zn and Si are tetrahedrally coordinated with O in an ionic-covalent manner to form ZnO4 and SiO4 tetrahedra as the building units. The tetrahedra are corner-sharing, of which one SiO4 tetrahedron connects eight ZnO4 tetrahedra, and one ZnO4 tetrahedron links four ZnO4 tetrahedra and four SiO4 tetrahedra. The unique crystallographic configuration gives rise to parallel tunnels with a diameter of 5.7 Å along the c-axis direction. The tunnel structure of Zn2SiO4 definitely correlates with its interesting elastic and thermal properties. On the one hand, the elastic modulus, coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), and thermal conductivity are low. Zn2SiO4 has low Vickers hardness of 6.6 GPa at 10 N and low thermal conductivity of 2.34 W/(m·K) at 1073 K. On the other hand, the elastic modulus and CTE along the c-axis are significantly larger than those along the a- and b-axes, showing obvious elastic and thermal expansion anisotropy. Specifically, the Young’s modulus along the z direction (Ez = 179 GPa) is almost twice those in the x and y directions (Ex = Ey = 93 GPa). The high thermal expansion anisotropy is ascribed to the empty tunnels along the c-axis, which are capable of more accommodating the thermal expansion along the a- and b-axes. The striking properties of Zn2SiO4 in elastic modulus, hardness, CTE, and thermal conductivity make it much useful in various fields of ceramics, such as low thermal expansion, thermal insulation, and machining tools.


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Tunnel-structured willemite Zn2SiO4: Electronic structure, elastic, and thermal properties

Show Author's information Ruqiao DAIa,bRenfei CHENGaJiemin WANGaChao ZHANGaCuiyu LIcHailong WANGdXiaohui WANGa( )Yanchun ZHOUe( )
Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science, Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China
School of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Science and Technology of China, Shenyang 110016, China
Advanced Computing East China Sub-center, Suma Technology Company Limited, Kunshan 215300, China
School of Material Science and Engineering, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450001, China
Science and Technology on Advanced Functional Composite Laboratory, Aerospace Research Institute of Materials & Processing Technology, Beijing 100076, China

Abstract

Willemite Zn2SiO4 crystallizes in such a way that Zn and Si are tetrahedrally coordinated with O in an ionic-covalent manner to form ZnO4 and SiO4 tetrahedra as the building units. The tetrahedra are corner-sharing, of which one SiO4 tetrahedron connects eight ZnO4 tetrahedra, and one ZnO4 tetrahedron links four ZnO4 tetrahedra and four SiO4 tetrahedra. The unique crystallographic configuration gives rise to parallel tunnels with a diameter of 5.7 Å along the c-axis direction. The tunnel structure of Zn2SiO4 definitely correlates with its interesting elastic and thermal properties. On the one hand, the elastic modulus, coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), and thermal conductivity are low. Zn2SiO4 has low Vickers hardness of 6.6 GPa at 10 N and low thermal conductivity of 2.34 W/(m·K) at 1073 K. On the other hand, the elastic modulus and CTE along the c-axis are significantly larger than those along the a- and b-axes, showing obvious elastic and thermal expansion anisotropy. Specifically, the Young’s modulus along the z direction (Ez = 179 GPa) is almost twice those in the x and y directions (Ex = Ey = 93 GPa). The high thermal expansion anisotropy is ascribed to the empty tunnels along the c-axis, which are capable of more accommodating the thermal expansion along the a- and b-axes. The striking properties of Zn2SiO4 in elastic modulus, hardness, CTE, and thermal conductivity make it much useful in various fields of ceramics, such as low thermal expansion, thermal insulation, and machining tools.

Keywords:

Zn2SiO4, electronic structure, elastic properties, thermal expansion, thermal conductivity
Received: 12 March 2022 Revised: 28 April 2022 Accepted: 29 April 2022 Published: 25 July 2022 Issue date: August 2022
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Publication history
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Acknowledgements
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Publication history

Received: 12 March 2022
Revised: 28 April 2022
Accepted: 29 April 2022
Published: 25 July 2022
Issue date: August 2022

Copyright

© The Author(s) 2022.

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science, Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The authors would like to thank Tianjia Guang for collecting the UV-Vis spectra, Junchao Wang for the preparation of Zn2SiO4 powders, Yiming Lei for measuring the elastic modulus, and Jun Zuo for measuring the thermal conductivity.

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