Microstructural evolution during sintering of copper particles studied by laboratory diffraction contrast tomography (LabDCT)

S. A. McDonald, C. Holzner, E. M. Lauridsen, P. Reischig, A. P. Merkle, P. J. Withers
  • Scientific Reports, July 2017, Springer Science + Business Media
  • DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-04742-1

What is it about?

Pressureless sintering of loose or compacted granular bodies at elevated temperature occurs by a combination of particle rearrangement, rotation, local deformation and diffusion, and grain growth. Understanding of how each of these processes contributes to the densification of a powder body is still immature. Here we report a fundamental study coupling the crystallographic imaging capability of laboratory diffraction contrast tomography (LabDCT) with conventional computed tomography (CT) in a time-lapse study. We are able to follow and differentiate these processes non-destructively and in three-dimensions during the sintering of a simple copper powder sample at 1050 degrees C. LabDCT quantifies particle rotation (to <0.05 degrees accuracy) and grain growth while absorption CT simultaneously records the diffusion and deformation-related morphological changes of the sintering particles. We find that the rate of particle rotation is lowest for the more highly coordinated particles and decreases during sintering. Consequently, rotations are greater for surface breaking particles than for more highly coordinated interior ones. Both rolling (cooperative) and sliding particle rotations are observed. By tracking individual grains the grain growth/shrinkage kinetics during sintering are quantified grain by grain for the first time. Rapid, abnormal grain growth is observed for one grain while others either grow or are consumed more gradually.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Philip J Withers