Densification and Sintering of Ceramics
Sintering provides the interparticle bonding that generates the attractive forces needed to hold together the otherwise loose ceramic powder mass. It also improves hardness, strength, transparency, toughness, electrical conductivity, thermal expansion, magnetic saturation, corrosion resistance, and other properties. This article discusses the fundamentals of sintering and its effects on pore structures and particle density. It addresses some of the more common sintering methods, including solid-state, liquid-phase, and gas pressure sintering, and presents alternative processes such as reaction sintering and self-propagating, high-temperature synthesis. It also describes several pressure densification methods, including hot isostatic pressing, gas pressure sintering, molten particle deposition, and sol-gel processing. The article concludes with a section on grain growth that discusses the underlying mechanisms and kinetics and the relationship between grain growth and densification.