Industrialists are increasingly looking for materials combining specific properties such as ultra-hardness, lightness, or functionalization with high quality requirements. To meet this need, academic and industrial R&D are working on innovative processes like sintering, that allows the development of new kinds of metals, ceramics, polymers and composites.
Nevertheless, current sintering processes one facing many issues in terms of grain growth control, homogenization, and pressure/temperature available of conditions, impacting materials performance and lifetime.
Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) offers high potential solutions to address those issues but still represents significant cost and spatial footprint with an important lack of understanding of the phenomenon involved during synthesis
The invention relates to a new Spark Plasma sintering (SPS) device and process. This new device presents a brand new architecture and components that significantly improves SPS in terms of materials quality and process monitoring. Another key parameters is that the device cans sinter under very higher pressure, up to 5 GPa while current SPS machine hardly go-beyond the MPa.
Moreover and while today’s SPS machine have a significant spatial footprint (around a few m2), this device is rather small (24 cm x 24 cm x 84 cm), adding the possibility of transport and plugging to high energy beam lines in order to do material characterization or in situ monitoring
A functional prototype has been developed and is currently being used on high energy beam lines in order to study Spark Plasma Sintering processes.