This manuscript describes, defines, and discusses the process of cold sintering, which can consolidate a broad set of inorganic powders between room temperature and 300 °C using a standard uniaxial press and die. This temperature range is well below that needed for appreciable bulk diffusion, indicating immediately the distinction from the well-known and thermally driven analogue, allowing for an unconventional method for densifying these inorganic powders. Sections of this report highlight the general background and history of cold sintering, the current set of known compositions that exhibit compatibility with this process, the basic experimental techniques, the current understanding of physical mechanisms necessary for densification, and finally opportunities and challenges to expand the method more generically to other systems. The newness of this approach and the potential for revolutionary impact on traditional methods of powder-based processing warrants this discussion despite a nascent understanding of the operative mechanisms.
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The authors acknowledge support from The Center for Dielectrics and Piezoelectrics, a national research center and consortium under the auspices of the Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers program at the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. IIP-1361571 and 1361503. The authors thank Professor James LeBeau and Matt Cabral for TEM imaging of cold sintered ceramics. This work was performed in part at the Analytical Instrumentation Facility (AIF) at North Carolina State University, which is supported by the State of North Carolina and the National Science Foundation (award number ECCS-1542015). The AIF is a member of the North Carolina Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network (RTNN), a site in the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI). We also thank the visiting scientist support from Murata Electronics, and also the Materials Characterization Laboratory, at the Materials Research Institute at PSU. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under Grant No. DGE-1252376. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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Maria, JP., Kang, X., Floyd, R.D. et al. Cold sintering: Current status and prospects. Journal of Materials Research 32, 3205–3218 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1557/jmr.2017.262