What Is Sintering?

Sintering is a heat treatment process that enables you to create a solid mass of any material from powdered ingredients. The process is used to manufacture high melting point materials, as well as alloys. It also results in an improved mechanical strength. However, sintering often destroys micro- and nanostructures.

The process involves a series of stages, from degassing to cooling down. Each stage involves a different temperature and is designed to achieve the desired mechanical properties of the part. The sintering process is typically performed on a conveyor belt furnace in a controlled atmosphere. Afterward, the parts are exposed to inert gas. In this way, oxidation can be avoided.

Several different sintering methods can be employed. For example, the Ultrafast High Temperature (UHS) technique was developed for rapid sintering of metals. This method combines a Joule-heated carbon heater and pressed precursor powders.

In the UHS method, the sintering temperature is based on the melting points of the elements being sintered. Consequently, the sintering temperature is fast, enabling sintering to occur in just a few seconds. A schematic of the process is shown below.

SPS is another pressure sintering method that uses pulsed electrification. This type of sintering is particularly effective on hard to sinter materials.

SPS is an effective technique that combines sintering and densification. Densification is achieved through the presence of a temporary liquid phase, which enhances the sintering capacity of the powder mixture.

The TSS (Two-Stage Sintering) method was developed by Chen and Wang. This sintering method is used to agglomerate three-element Y2O3 crystallites into larger, denser secondary grains.

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