SPS - Spark Plasma Sintering
Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) is an innovative sintering process that is emerging as a key enabling technology in the processing of numerous materials, such as nanostructured materials, composite materials and gradient materials.
The SPS process is based on a modified hot pressing setup in which an electric current runs directly through the pressing mould (typically graphite) and the component.
By means of the pulsed electric current and the “spark plasma effect”, very rapid heating times and short process cycles are achieved.
This suppresses granular growth and the achieving of balanced states, which allows the creation of materials with compositions and properties not obtainable up to now, materials in the sub-micron or nano-scale and composite materials with unique compositions.
The main drawback of this technology up to now has been the size of the samples to obtain (Ø 250 mm) and its heterogeneity in large samples due to the thermal gradients generated during the process.
Therefore it was a technology mainly conceived for research and development purposes and with a bottleneck in its scalability.
A great breakthrough in this technology has been performed with the manufacturing of a large scale SPSmachine (Ø 400mm) that incorporates an additional induction heating process to reduce thermal gradients and obtain homogeneous materials in an industrialized process.
This machine (HHP400) is owned by CINN-CSIC and has been installed in the facilities of Nanoker Research, owner of the exploitation rights of this technology thanks to a public-private collaboration agreement.