Flash sintering of ceramics

Normally, it takes several hours at a temperature well in excess of 1000 C to sinter a ceramic. However, it has recently been discovered that this can be achieved in a few seconds with much lower furnace temperatures by applying an electric current to the specimen whilst it is heated. We have shown that the "flash event" originates in a thermal runaway effect and have recently suggested that the rapid sintering observed during this flash event is primarily a consequence of the extremely rapid heating produced. The project aims to investigate the reasons for this and to establish models which will enable the commercial exploitation of the phenomenon.

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