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Open AccessArticle

Spark Plasma Sintering of Commercial Zirconium Carbide Powders: Densification Behavior and Mechanical Properties

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Dr., San Diego, CA 92182, USA
2
General Atomics, 3550 General Atomics Ct., San Diego, CA 92121, USA
3
National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University, Tomsk 634650, Russian
4
US Army Armament Research Development Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ 07806, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Daolun Chen
Materials 2015, 8(9), 6043-6061; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma8095289
Received: 27 July 2015 / Revised: 23 August 2015 / Accepted: 6 September 2015 / Published: 10 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Manufacturing Processes and Systems)
Commercial zirconium carbide (ZrC) powder is consolidated by Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS). Processing temperatures range from 1650 to 2100 °C. Specimens with various density levels are obtained when performing single-die SPS at different temperatures. Besides the single-die tooling setup, a double-die tooling setup is employed to largely increase the actual applied pressure to achieve higher densification in a shorter processing time. In order to describe the densification mechanism of ZrC powder under SPS conditions, a power-law creep constitutive equation is utilized, whose coefficients are determined by the inverse regression of the obtained experimental data. The densification of the selected ZrC powder is shown to be likely associated with grain boundary sliding and dislocation glide controlled creep. Transverse rupture strength and microhardness of sintered specimens are measured to be up to 380 MPa and 24 GPa, respectively. Mechanical properties are correlated with specimens’ average grain size and relative density to elucidate the co-factor dependencies. View Full-Text
Keywords: zirconium carbide (ZrC); spark plasma sintering (SPS); power-law creep (PLC); transverse rupture strength (TRS); microhardness (Hv) zirconium carbide (ZrC); spark plasma sintering (SPS); power-law creep (PLC); transverse rupture strength (TRS); microhardness (Hv)
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Wei, X.; Back, C.; Izhvanov, O.; Khasanov, O.L.; Haines, C.D.; Olevsky, E.A. Spark Plasma Sintering of Commercial Zirconium Carbide Powders: Densification Behavior and Mechanical Properties. Materials 2015, 8, 6043-6061.

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