2021 journal article
A thermal perspective of flash sintering: The effect of AC current ramp rate on microstructure evolution
Journal of the European Ceramic Society, 11.
In flash sintering experiments, the thermal history of the sample is key to understanding the mechanisms underlying densification rate and final properties. By combining robust temperature measurements with current-ramp-rate control, this study examined the effects of the thermal profile on the flash sintering of yttria-stabilized zirconia, with experiments ranging from a few seconds to several hours. The final density was maximized at slower heating rates, although processes slower than a certain threshold led to grain growth. The amount of grain growth observed was comparable to a similar conventional thermal process. The bulk electrical conductivity correlated with the maximum temperature and cooling rate. The only property that exhibited behavior that could not be attributed to solely the thermal profile was the grain boundary conductivity, which was consistently higher than conventional in flash sintered samples. These results suggest that, during flash sintering, athermal electric field effects are relegated to the grain boundary.