HYBRID SINTERING FOR DECARBONISATION AND PRODUCTIVITY IN MANUFACTURING

Lead Participant: Lucideon Limited

Abstract

Ceramic and glass bodies are manufactured widely in the UK and used by many foundation industries, from the production of ceramic electronic components used in all modern electronics, to glass and refractory kiln linings essential for glass and metal processing furnaces. All require sintering in their green state, at high temperature and over long timescales. With extended cycle times and high consumption of energy, the development of a sintering technology to significantly reduce the energy used, lower peak furnace temperature, and increase speed of sintering would provide a step change in resource efficiency for foundation industry users.

This project will target benefits in resource and energy efficiency assessing the possibility of combining two novel and highly energy efficient sintering technologies to exploit the strengths of both systems, and provide sintering in seconds at temperatures as low as 100oC. Current state of the art sintering involves peak temperatures of 1200 oC -- 1800 oC +, applied for a number of hours. The project's objective is to develop a processing technology for use by the glass, ceramics (focused on electroceramics and refractories) sectors, each a foundation industry. The project builds on Lucideon' s expertise in the development of flash sintering technology, and the University of Sheffield's (UoS) development of cold sintering .

Cold sintering is a pressure assisted densification technology that relies on the aqueous dissolution of ions from the constituent oxides followed by recrystallisation as the water evaporates above its the boiling point. Although many ceramic systems or ceramic composites cold sinter, the technique cannot yet be applied to all ceramics. Moreover parts are held under load for several minutes, which limits scaling the technique for manufacturing. Flash sintering has been successful in sintering a wide range of ceramic materials, but still requires relatively high furnace temperatures of 800 to 900oC. This project addresses these limitations by building a hybrid flash/cold system and providing densification within seconds at ultra-low temperatures compared to conventional sintering. This is a highly innovative world first that could usher in a new paradigm in materials processing. Technology route to market will be licencing via technology sales to manufacturers.

The project will be industry led with a steering committee of project partners, represented by the foundation industries targeted .

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Lucideon Limited, Stoke-on-Trent £124,038 £ 74,423
 

Participant

Glass Technology Services Ltd, Sheffield £29,629 £ 17,777
Knowles (UK) Limited, Norwich £32,974 £ 16,487
University of Sheffield, United Kingdom £132,824 £ 132,824
Vesuvius UK Ltd £28,450 £ 14,225

Publications

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