Influence of spark plasma sintering temperature on porous titanium microstructural integrity, airflow resistance, and space holder removal

  • Isaac M. MakenaEmail author
  • Mxolisi B. Shongwe
  • Ronald Machaka
  • Wallace R. Matizamhuka


Porous titanium samples were sintered at four different temperatures (500, 550, 600, and 650 °C), by following the spark plasma sintering (SPS)/space holder (SH) route. The aim was to study the effect of sintering temperature on the structural integrity and space holder (NaCl) removal, as well as airflow resistance. The porous titanium was characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy in conjunction with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). SEM images of the porous samples showed an appropriate range of pore sizes above 100 μm and interconnectivity. Fracture surfaces reveal the formation and growth of sintering necks between adjacent particles which becomes clearer with increasing temperature. The EDS and XRD analysis showed that there are no contaminations or inclusions of NaCl in the sintered porous samples. The most efficient leaching parameters, which are adequate to completely remove the space holder, were by immersion in hot water, for at least 5 h (five cycles). An increase in sintering temperature significantly reduces the material porosity level, and consequently increases the airflow resistance through the material.


Spark plasma sintering Microstructure NaCl dissolution Airflow resistance Porous titanium 



This work is based on the research supported in part by the National Research Foundation of South Africa for the grant, Unique Grant No. 113838. Research facilities were supported by the Institute for NanoEngineering Research, Tshwane University of Technology.

Funding information

This study received financial assistance from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) funding under the Tshwane University of Technology, Emerging Program Grant.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isaac M. Makena
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mxolisi B. Shongwe
    • 1
  • Ronald Machaka
    • 2
  • Wallace R. Matizamhuka
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Chemical, Metallurgical and Materials EngineeringTshwane University of Technology (TUT)PretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Light Metals, Materials Science and ManufacturingCouncil for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)PretoriaSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Metallurgical EngineeringVaal University of Technology (VUT)VanderbijlparkSouth Africa

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