Flash Sintering (FS) of Ceramics
Lucideon is the first company in the world to commercialize this innovative low-energy ceramic processing technology, based on the application of an electric field to the ceramic body during sintering.
Manipulation of the parameters allows control and tailoring of the microstructure whilst reducing production costs, providing an opportunity to develop superior ceramic products for design and performance benefits.
- ability to reduce or control grain growth during sintering
- technology is retrofitted to existing kilns
- vastly accelerated sintering time and reduced sintering temperatures (energy efficient).
The graph below compares the conventional firing curve of 3YSZ ceramic material, to that used with FS technology. A significant reduction in time and furnace temperature can be seen with FS. Also, by varying field strengths, sintering curves can be further modified.
The real-time video below shows a rod of 3YSZ (3mol% Yttria Stabilized Zirconia) sintered under isothermal conditions by Flash Sintering at a reduced furnace temperature of 900°C (compared to conventional temperatures of around 1450°C). The uniform glow of the sample shows homogenous field propagation with sintering occurring much more quickly (it would take a number of hours under conventional sintering conditions).
Potential Applications in the Healthcare Industry
Other than the current application in tile ware, our experts are researching the following applications for FS:
- Dental and orthopedic implants
- Other biomaterials.