Nanoforce is pioneering the exploitation of Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) technology in the UK. SPS can sinter ceramic, metal or composite powders to high density. This includes difficult systems to density, including ultra-high temperature and hardness carbides and borides, and refractory metal alloys.
The furnace works by the rapid heating of electrically conductive dies by pulsed DC electric currents in a vacuum or inert environment. It can achieve heating rate combined with high pressure (up to ~1GPa) opens up a new processing window and the possibility of producing new materials with microstructures and properties that cannot be achieved using conventional sintering technique.
SPS is a high-throughput technique, which makes it ideal for quickly exploring new materials and an energy-efficient route for the mass production of materials.
Using a SPS technique, nanopowders can be processed to produce high-density nanoceramics with minimal grain growth. It can also be used to produce novel materials such as ceramic-carbon nanotube composites, materials that combine different phase that would not normally coexist.
Nanoforce explores a various aspect of advanced ceramics processing and nanotechnology, focuses on improving technology transfer and commercialization.
Key research and development themes at Nanoforce are:
Applications of Advanced Ceramics produced at Nanoforce: