Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lowering the Heat Makes New Materials Possible While Saving Energy

26.09.2016

A new technology developed by Penn State researchers, called Cold Sintering Process (CSP), has opened a window on the ability to combine incompatible materials, such as ceramics and plastics, into new, useful compound materials, and to lower the energy cost of many types of manufacturing.

Ceramics is the oldest known man-made material, dating back tens of thousands of years. Throughout that time most all ceramics have been made by heating them to high temperatures, either by firing in kilns or sintering ceramic powders in furnaces, both of which require large amounts of energy.


Credit: Jennifer M. McCann/MRI

An artistic interpretation of the cold sintering of ceramic particles (white) and polymer strands (green) using low heat to evaporate added water molecules (blue).

“In this day and age, when we have to be incredibly conscious of the CO2 budget, the energy budget, rethinking many of our manufacturing processes, including ceramics, becomes absolutely vital,” said Clive Randall, professor of materials science and engineering at Penn State who developed the process with his team. “Not only is it a low temperature process (room temperature up to 200 degrees Celsius), but we are also densifying some materials to over 95 percent of their theoretical density in 15 minutes. We can now make a ceramic faster than you can bake a pizza, and at lower temperatures.”

In a recent article in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, Randall and his coauthors describe the co-sintering of ceramic and thermoplastic polymer composites using CSP. Three types of polymer were selected to complement the properties of three types of ceramics, a microwave dielectric, an electrolyte and a semiconductor, in order to highlight the diversity of applicable materials. These composite materials demonstrate new possibilities for dielectric property design, and both ionic and electronic electrical conductivity design. These composites can be sintered to high density at 120 degrees C in a time frame of 15 to 60 minutes.

Just add water

According to the researchers, the process involves wetting ceramic powder with a few drops of water or acid solution. The solid surfaces of the particles decompose and partially dissolve in the water to produce a liquid phase at particle-particle interfaces. Adding temperature and pressure causes the water to flow and the solid particles to rearrange in an initial densification process. Then in a second process, clusters of atoms or ions move away from where the particles are in contact, which aids diffusion, which then minimizes surface free energy, allowing the particles to pack tightly together. The key is knowing the exact combination of moisture, pressure, heat and time required to capture the reaction rates so the material fully crystallizes and gets to very high density.

“I see cold sintering process as a continuum of different challenges,” Randall said. “In some systems, it’s so easy you don’t need pressure. In others you do. In some you need to use nanoparticles. In others, you can get away with a mixture of nanoparticles and larger particles. It really all depends on the systems and chemistries you are talking about.”

The Penn State team has begun building a library of the precise techniques required to use CSP on various materials systems, with 50 processes verified to-date. These include ceramic-ceramic composites, ceramic-nanoparticle composites, ceramic-metals, as well as the ceramic-polymers discussed in this paper.

Other areas that are now open to exploration by CSP include architectural materials, such as ceramic bricks, thermal insulation, biomedical implants and many types of electronic components.

“My hope is that a lot of the manufacturing processes that already exist will be able to use this process, and we can learn from polymer manufacturing practices,” Randall concluded.

Co-authors on “Cold Sintering Process of Composites: Bridging the Processing Temperature Gap of Ceramics and Polymer Materials” were postdoctoral scholars Jing Guo and Hanzheng Guo, Ph.D. candidate Seth Berbano, research and development engineer Amanda Baker, and Michael Lanagan, professor of engineering science and mechanics, all part of Penn State’s Materials Research Institute.

The work was supported by the National Science Foundation as part of the Center for Dielectrics and Piezoelectrics and the NSF-ERC ASSIST program, the 3M Science and Technology Fellowship and the Department of Energy GATE Fellowship.

Contact

Prof. Clive Randall at car4@psu.edu

Walter Mills | newswise

Further reports about: CSP Ceramics Energy Nanoparticles manufacturing processes materials sintering

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New design improves performance of flexible wearable electronics
23.06.2017 | North Carolina State University

nachricht Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics
22.06.2017 | American Chemical Society

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>