Multimodal grain size distribution and high hardness in fine grained tungsten fabricated by spark plasma sintering

Osman El-Atwani, Purdue University
D.V. Quach, Purdue University
Mert Efe, Univ Calif Davis, CA
Patrick Cantwell, Purdue University
Bryan Heim, Purdue University
Bradley Schultz, Purdue
Eric Stach, Purdue University
Joanna Groza, Purdue University
Jean P. Allain, Purdue University

Date of this Version



Materials Science and Engineering: A Volume 528, Issue 18, 15 July 2011, Pages 5670–5677


Preparation of fine grained, hard and ductile pure tungsten for future fusion reactor applications was tested using the bottom-up approach via powder consolidation by spark plasma sintering (SPS) at different temperature (1300-1800 degrees C) and pressure (90-266 MPa) conditions. Pure tungsten powders with an average particle size of about 1 mu m were sintered to high density (about 94%) with almost no grain growth at a temperature below 1400 degrees C and an applied pressure up to 266 MPa. These samples had a multi-modal grain size distribution (resembling the size distribution of the initial powder) and a very high Vickers hardness (up to 530 kg/mm(2)). Above 1500 degrees C fast grain growth occurred and resulted in a drop in hardness. XRD on the surface of bulk samples showed a small amount of tungsten oxides; however, XPS and EDS indicated that these oxides were only surface contaminants and suggested a high purity for the bulk samples. The results demonstrate that SPS can lead to ultrafine and nanocrystalline tungsten if used to consolidate pure nano tungsten powders. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology