Journal article

Synthesis and Sintering of ZnO Nanopowders

Nanopowders are continuously under investigation as they open new perspectives in numerous fields. There are two main challenges to stimulating their development: sufficient low-cost, high throughput synthesis methods which lead to a production with well-defined and reproducible properties; and for ceramics specifically, the conservation of the powders' nanostructure after sintering. In this context, this paper presents the synthesis of a pure nanosized powder of ZnO (dv(50)similar to 60 nm, easily redispersable) by using a continuous Segmented Flow Tubular Reactor (SFTR), which has previously shown its versatility and its robustness, ensuring a high powder quality and reproducibility over time. A higher scale of production can be achieved based on a "scale-out" concept by replicating the tubular reactors. The sinterability of ZnO nanopowders synthesized by the SFTR was studied, by natural sintering at 900 degrees C and 1100 degrees C, and Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) at 900 degrees C. The performance of the synthesized nanopowder was compared to a commercial ZnO nanopowder of high quality. The samples obtained from the synthesized nanopowder could not be densified at low temperature by traditional sintering, whereas SPS led to a fully dense material after only 5 min at 900 degrees C, while also limiting the grain growth, thus leading to a nanostructured material.


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