Comparison of apparent activation energies for densification of alumina powders by pulsed electric current sintering (spark plasma sintering) and conventional sintering-toward applications for transparent polycrystalline alumina

In the quest for high real in-line transmittances for transparent polycrystalline alumina (PCA), we need defect free processing. One of the biggest advances in producing high density defect free ceramics over recent years has been the advent of spark plasma sintering (SPS) or pulsed electric current sintering. The production of PCA with high transmittances >60% has been demonstrated, but the mechanisms behind this fast, pressure aided sintering method are still much debated. Here, we investigate the sintering of doped a-alumina powders using traditional and pulsed electric current dilatometry. We demonstrate that at the final sintering stage, there is no major difference in the sintering mechanisms between conventional sintering and SPS sintering. High densification rates occurring in SPS are shown to be related to powder reorientation at the very early sintering stage and viscous-flow dominated densification in the intermediate sintering cycle. This paper clarifies what parameters in the processing-sintering domain have to be improved for even higher real in-line transmittances for PCA.

Published in:
Journal Of Materials Research, 32, 17, 3309-3318
New York, Materials Research Society

 Record created 2017-11-08, last modified 2018-03-17

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