Institute of Metals Division - Self-diffusion in Sintering of Metallic Particles

Kuczynski, G. C.
Organization: The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1950
Two particles in mutual contact form a system which is not in thermo-dynamical equilibrium, because its total surface free energy is not a minimum. If such a system is left for a certain period of time, the bonding of the two particles will take place in order to decrease the total surface area, even though the temperature is lower than the melting point. This phenomenon of bonding of two or more particles with the application of heat only and at temperatures below melting point of any component of the system will be called sintering, although the powder metallurgists use this term in a broader sense, including the presence of molten phase and pressure. It is the objective of this paper to study this process and the mechanisms involved in it. This problem is of utmost importance to powder metallurgy and powder ceramics, and its technological aspects have been studied for a good many years. However, the powder metallurgical operations are too complex and include too many superimposing mechanisms, and too many variables for a direct study. It was therefore advisable for the purposes of this study to reduce the variables to a minimum. In this work the radius of the interface formed during bonding in a simple system composed of a spherical particle and a large block of the same metal was studied as a function of time and temperature. It is believed that the mechanism involved in this simple process is fundamental to any sintering operations. Previous Work J. Frenkell was the first to make a serious attempt to develop a theory of sintering. He assumed that the process consists of a slow deformation of crystalline particles under the influence of surface tension which reduces to a viscous flow where the coefficient of viscosity n is related to the self-diffusion coefficient D by the following equation 1 _ D D6kT [1] where 6 is interatomic distance, k the Boltzman constant, and T the absolute temperature. This type of viscous flow of a crystalline substance is essentially different from the ordinary plastic flow. The latter is a specific propcrty of crystals and cannot take place in amorphous bodies. According to Frenkel this viscous type of flow is due to the diffusion of the holes or vacancies arising in the lattice. He was able to derive an equation relating the growth of the interface between two spherical crystalline particles or between a particle and a semi-infinite crystal (Fig 1) to time t at constant temperature. This relationship can be written as follows: x²— 3/2 a/nt [2] where x is the radius of the interface assumed to be circular, a the original radius of the sphere and a surface tension of the material. The other assump- x tions are that x is less than 0.3 and that during the period 1 the original radius, a, of the metallic particle did not change appreciably. A. J. Shaler and J. Wulff2 followed closely the ideas of Frenkel in their theory of sintering of a mass of metallic powder. Neither Frenkel nor Shaler has validated his theoretical speculations with conclusive experimental data. Two measurements reported by
Full Article Download:
(693 kb)