Simulations of the influence of rearrangement during sintering
A three-dimensional application of the discrete element method to free, constrained and pressure-assisted solid-state sintering of powders is presented. Special emphasis is laid on the generation of realistic random initial configuration as well as on the inertia effects. With this method, internal properties such as coordination number and pair correlation function are directly accessible and compare well with theoretical predictions and experimental data. The simulation scheme also enables one to investigate how grain rearrangements on a mesoscopic scale influence macroscopic properties such as densification rate and bulk and shear viscosity. Finally, crack formation during constrained sintering of low-density films is examined.