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Vol. 78, Issue 4, April 2007, pp. 1114-1121

 

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Fabrication of Meso-Porous Gamma-Alumina Films by Sol-Gel and Gel Casting Processes for Making Moisture Sensors

 

Kalyan Kumar Mistry

Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute,

M.G.Avenue, Durgapur 713209, India

Tel.: 91-343-2546828, Fax: 91-343-2546745

E-mail: kalyan700@yahoo.com

 

 

Received: 4 January 2007 /Accepted: 20 April 2007 /Published: 23 April 2007

 

Abstract: Meso-porous g-Al2O3 film may be used as a highly sensitive trace moisture sensor. The crack-free alumina film was developed using a combination of sol-gel and tape casting processes, which produce high porosity, high surface area and small pore dimensions in the range of few nano-meter at uniform distribution. Sol-gel processes are well known in nano-technology and nano-material preparation, but it is difficult to make crack-free thick or thin films using this method. Tape cast methods are used for the fabrication of flexible crack-free thick ceramic sheets. Our objective was to develop nano-structured, crack-free, transparent Al2O3 film a few microns thick, has a highly porous and stable crystallographic nature. A metallic paste was printed by screen printing on both side of the film surface for electrodes to form a sensitive element. A silver wire (dia j=0.1mm) lead was connected to a grid structure electrode using a silver paste spot for fine joining. Alumina is absorbs moisture molecules into its meso-porous layer and changes its electrical characteristics according to the moisture content, its dielectric constant increase as moisture increase. Moisture molecules can be conceived of as dipoles in random state before the application of an electric field. When the dipole orientation was changed from random to an equilibrium state under the application of external field, a large change in dielectric constant was observed. The number of water molecules absorbed determines the electrical impedance of the capacitor, which in turn is proportional to water vapor pressure.

 

Keywords: Gel casting, g-Al2O3 film, Moisture sensor

 

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