Novel manufacturing method could lead to massive energy savings, new materials

August 10, 2017 by David Kubarek, Pennsylvania State University

Penn State researchers have developed a new method for sintering, a widely used manufacturing process for powdered materials. Using far less time and energy than the standard approach, the new method could have global implications on manufacturing and energy savings and pave the way for new discoveries.

Cold sintering, a devised by a team led by Clive Randall, professor of materials science and engineering and director of Penn State's Materials Research Institute, is a new take on sintering, a process through which powder-form materials are densified—compressed—using heat and pressure. Sintering is used to manufacture many materials including glass, metals, bricks and plastics.

Randall's approach uses liquid to complete the at times and temperatures that are a fraction of current methods. Because the process is completed in minutes instead of hours, time and could result in huge productivity and cost gains for the manufacturing sector and could lead to far fewer greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing.

"What we're doing is using a liquid in a dissolution process. It then works by an evaporation process," he said. "That's been done before but usually with phases that aren't transient. What's really important about this process is that this liquid is there and then it's gone, and in the process of being there and gone it's capturing all the exchange and diffusional and growth processes that you need to drive the sintering."

Penn State researchers have developed a widespread manufacturing process that uses far less time and energy, a discovery that could have global implications on manufacturing and energy savings and pave the way for new discoveries. Credit: Pennsylvania State University

Because traditional sintering occurs over many hours at temperatures around 1,000 degrees Celsius, and cold sintering takes place at temperatures from room temperature to 200 degrees Celsius, the process has opened the door for novel manufacturing materials that can't sustain the higher temperatures of traditional .

"The ability to incorporate new materials into that whole process and make new types of functionality and then finally to have a system where it's basically densified in 20 minutes means that your through-put and your manufacturing yields could go up enormously," Randall said. "This is great for , it's great for energy savings, it's great for the environment and it's now permitting new intellectual endeavors in making ."

Explore further: Cold sintering of ceramics instead of high-temperature firing

Related Stories

Cold sintering of ceramics instead of high-temperature firing

August 16, 2016

Both hobbyists' pottery and engineered high-performance ceramics are only useable after they are fired for hours at high temperatures, usually above 1000 °C. The sintering process that takes place causes the individual particles ...

Sustainable ceramics without a kiln

February 28, 2017

The manufacture of cement, bricks, bathroom tiles and porcelain crockery normally requires a great deal of heat: a kiln is used to fire the ceramic materials at temperatures well in excess of 1,000°C. Now, material scientists ...

Recommended for you

Using bacteria to create a water filter that kills bacteria

January 18, 2019

More than one in 10 people in the world lack basic drinking water access, and by 2025, half of the world's population will be living in water-stressed areas, which is why access to clean water is one of the National Academy ...

Hand-knitted molecules

January 18, 2019

Molecules are usually formed in reaction vessels or laboratory flasks. An Empa research team has now succeeded in producing molecules between two microscopically small, movable gold tips – in a sense as a "hand-knitted" ...

Artificially produced cells communicate with each other

January 18, 2019

Friedrich Simmel and Aurore Dupin, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), have for the first time created artificial cell assemblies that can communicate with each other. The cells, separated by fatty membranes, ...

This computer program makes pharma patents airtight

January 17, 2019

Routes to making life-saving medications and other pharmaceutical compounds are among the most carefully protected trade secrets in global industry. Building on recent work programming computers to identify synthetic pathways ...

3-D culturing hepatocytes on a liver-on-a-chip device

January 17, 2019

Liver-on-a-chip cell culture devices are attractive biomimetic models in drug discovery, toxicology and tissue engineering research. To maintain specific liver cell functions on a chip in the lab, adequate cell types and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.