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Materials 2016, 9(7), 577; doi:10.3390/ma9070577

Zirconium Carbide Produced by Spark Plasma Sintering and Hot Pressing: Densification Kinetics, Grain Growth, and Thermal Properties

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Dr., San Diego, CA 92182, USA
2
General Atomics, 3350 General Atomics Ct., San Diego, CA 92121, USA
3
US Army Armament Research Development Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ 07806, USA
4
Department of NanoEngineering, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jai-Sung Lee
Received: 15 June 2016 / Revised: 30 June 2016 / Accepted: 8 July 2016 / Published: 14 July 2016
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Abstract

Spark plasma sintering (SPS) has been employed to consolidate a micron-sized zirconium carbide (ZrC) powder. ZrC pellets with a variety of relative densities are obtained under different processing parameters. The densification kinetics of ZrC powders subjected to conventional hot pressing and SPS are comparatively studied by applying similar heating and loading profiles. Due to the lack of electric current assistance, the conventional hot pressing appears to impose lower strain rate sensitivity and higher activation energy values than those which correspond to the SPS processing. A finite element simulation is used to analyze the temperature evolution within the volume of ZrC specimens subjected to SPS. The control mechanism for grain growth during the final SPS stage is studied via a recently modified model, in which the grain growth rate dependence on porosity is incorporated. The constant pressure specific heat and thermal conductivity of the SPS-processed ZrC are determined to be higher than those reported for the hot-pressed ZrC and the benefits of applying SPS are indicated accordingly. View Full-Text
Keywords: zirconium carbide; spark plasma sintering; finite element simulation; grain growth; thermal properties zirconium carbide; spark plasma sintering; finite element simulation; grain growth; thermal properties
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wei, X.; Back, C.; Izhvanov, O.; Haines, C.D.; Olevsky, E.A. Zirconium Carbide Produced by Spark Plasma Sintering and Hot Pressing: Densification Kinetics, Grain Growth, and Thermal Properties. Materials 2016, 9, 577.

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