Microstructural Evolution and Related Kinetics During Pulsed Electric Current Sintering of Tungsten

  • Jonathan A. Webb
  • Indrajit CharitEmail author
  • Darryl P. Butt


Tungsten powders with average powder sizes of 90 nm, 260 nm, and 471 nm were consolidated by spark plasma sintering (SPS) or pulsed electric current sintering (PECS) at heating rates that ranged from 20 to 100 K/min and applied stresses (20–80 MPa). PECS is found to create a much fine microstructure. However, achieving a density greater than 97% theoretically proved to be difficult to attain due to the limitations in the mechanical strength of the graphite dies. Subsequently, hot isostatic pressing (HIP) was pursued as a post-processing technique to achieve further densification and successfully demonstrated its ability to complete the densification process while not increasing the average grain size over that of the PECS-only method. Dynamic kinetic analyses showed that overall consolidation mechanisms of PECS were quite similar to traditional sintering methods and are based on diffusion and dislocation-based forms of creep. The study confirms that PECS is capable of producing fine-grain tungsten microstructures, which could be advantageous for applications where enhanced mechanical properties are required.


Spark plasma sintering Pulsed electric current sintering Tungsten Hot isostatic pressing Densification 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Daniella Fredrick of Thermal Technology LLC for conducting some sintering experiments. JW would also like to thank Tammy Trowbridge of the Idaho National Laboratory for conducting the EBSD and SEM analysis presented in this work. Finally, the research was performed using funding received from the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP contract # 42246-57). The authors would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Mark Carroll and Cory Sparks during the execution of the project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan A. Webb
    • 1
  • Indrajit Charit
    • 1
    Email author
  • Darryl P. Butt
    • 2
  1. 1.Nuclear Engineering Program and Department of Chemical & Materials EngineeringUniversity of IdahoMoscowUSA
  2. 2.Department of Metallurgical EngineeringUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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