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Fundamental principles of spark plasma sintering of metals

Part I: Joule heating controlled by the evolution of powder resistivity and local current densities
: Trapp, J.; Kieback, B.


Powder Metallurgy 62 (2019), No.5, pp.297-306
ISSN: 0032-5899
ISSN: 1743-2901
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IFAM ()

In this study, the evolution of the electrical resistivity of metal powders during densification and the resulting current flow through punch, powder compact, and die is investigated. The evaluation of the accompanying Joule heating identifies the graphite punches as main heating element providing more than 90% of the heat. The high electrical resistance of the punches and the low resistance of the graphite die as parallel electrical load to the specimen determine the current flow in the tool. For powder particles with intact oxide layers, virtually no current flows through the compact. On the other hand, for a powder resistivity below 10−3 Ωcm about 50% of the current flows through the compact. This fraction is constant despite further decreasing resistivity of the compact during densification. A constant current through the specimen has important implications for the microscopic temperature distribution and the understanding of the so-called 'spark plasma effects'.