A preliminary attempt at sintering an ultrafine alumina powder using microwaves
Alhambra, Edgar M.
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A commercially available microwave oven was used to sinter ultrafine alumina powders (0.02 -0.05 micrometers particle size) with and without CaO sintering aid. The oven was modified by inserting a thermocouple probe through the bottom housing, and thoroughly insulating the interior with insulating material. The oven was placed in a glove box and filled with argon to prevent degradation of the thermocouple, and oxidation of the powdered graphite susceptor. Heating rates of 50-75 Deg C/sec with a maximum temperature of 1575 Deg C were obtained. Limited success in sintering of the the powder compacts was achieved in this preliminary effort. The microstructures of the sintered products were examined by scanning electron microscopy. It was concluded that further work is necessary to develop this technique into one which can be used for the routine sintering of fine powdered ceramic material. A review of the literature on microwave sintering of ceramic powders is also reported.
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