skip to main content

Materials Science Research Lecture

Wednesday, January 6, 2021
4:00pm to 5:00pm
Add to Cal
Online Event
Is Densification During Sintering Diffusion Limited? Insights from Ultrahigh Temperature in situ Nanomechanical Testing and Sintering
Shen J. Dillon, Associate Professor, Material Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,

Webinar Link:

Webinar ID: 957 0877 2987


Sintering is an industrially important powder consolidation process that has gained renewed interest as a convenient process for densifying 3D printed powder compacts. Despite ≈70 years of scientific investigation, practical aspects of sintering continue to present challenges to our fundamental understanding of the process. This is highlighted by ongoing contentious debates around the roles of electric fields, high heating rates, and chemical additives in affecting sintering kinetics. Such experiments are primarily interpreted in the context of diffusion rate limited sintering models, where geometry, surface and grain boundary diffusivities, and surface and grain boundary energies are the primary variables. Determining all of these variables well in any particular system has always been experimentally challenging and laborious, which makes quantitative assessment of the models difficult.

We have developed ultrahigh temperature small-scale mechanical testing methods based on laser heating and in situ transmission electron microscopy imaging. The methodology is applied to performing a series of bicrystal Coble creep, zero-creep, and unconstrained sintering experiments that provide a basis for measuring interfacial energies and diffusivities, and grain boundary point defect formation and migration volumes that identify the diffusion mediating defect. These data are applied to interpreting the sintering behavior of model 2-particle sintering configurations in cubic ZrO2, UO2, and Al2O3-GdAlO3 composites observed in situ. The associated kinetic analyses indicate that, for the particles characterized, densification kinetics are interface reaction rate limited. Densification occurs during discrete steps, whose kinetics follow measured diffusivities, with longer intermittent incubation periods. It is hypothesized that these events are preceded by nucleation of climb mediating grain boundary dislocations. A large energy barrier is observed whose magnitude agrees with the thermodynamic work resulting from the vacancy flux between the surface and the dislocation sink in the grain boundary measured from creep. The new understanding derived from these experiments is primarily discussed in the context of heating rate effects on sintering kinetics. The results, however, have broad impacts on how other variables such as chemistry, applied stress, or electric field affect sintering kinetics.

More about the Speaker:

Shen J. Dillon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his B.S. and Ph.D in Materials Science and Engineering from Lehigh University in 2007. He worked as a Research Associate at Carnegie Mellon University and a Visiting Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009. His scientific interests relate to understanding the key role played by inorganic interfacial structure-property relationships in affecting the performance of systems in extreme environments. Much of his recent work relates to developing and applying novel in situ characterization techniques that can be applied to understanding the dynamic properties of materials and their interfaces. He is the author of over 100 articles, and was a recipient of the 2011 Department of Energy Early Career Award, the 2013 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and the 2015 American Ceramic Society's Robert L. Coble Award for Young Scholars.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Blankenship by email at [email protected].