Accelerated sintering in phase-separating nanostructured alloys

TitleAccelerated sintering in phase-separating nanostructured alloys
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsPark, M, Schuh, CA
JournalNature Communications
Date Published2015/04//

Sintering of powders is a common means of producing bulk materials when melt casting is impossible or does not achieve a desired microstructure, and has long been pursued for nanocrystalline materials in particular. Acceleration of sintering is desirable to lower processing temperatures and times, and thus to limit undesirable microstructure evolution. Here we show that markedly enhanced sintering is possible in some nanocrystalline alloys. In a nanostructured W-Cr alloy, sintering sets on at a very low temperature that is commensurate with phase separation to form a Cr-rich phase with a nanoscale arrangement that supports rapid diffusional transport. The method permits bulk full density specimens with nanoscale grains, produced during a sintering cycle involving no applied stress. We further show that such accelerated sintering can be evoked by design in other nanocrystalline alloys, opening the door to a variety of nanostructured bulk materials processed in arbitrary shapes from powder inputs.