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'Cold Sintering' to Revolutionize Manufacturing Industry

Researchers in Penn State's Materials Research Institute, led by Clive Randall, recently discovered a process that they say could revolutionize the manufacturing industry. Known as cold sintering, the process could be used for developing materials used every day, like bricks and glass, at a much lower energy cost than the process used today. Most sintering processes occur at high temperatures above 1,000°C. This technology could achieve dense ceramic solids at extremely low temperatures (under 300°C). The cold sintering process (CSP) uses a transient aqueous environment to effect densification by a mediated dissolution-precipitation process. These temperatures enable co-sintering of ceramic materials with other materials such as thermoplastics to develop unique composites and new functionalities in a one-step process. The researchers have reduced the technology to practice using over 50 compositions, including advanced ceramics such as BaTiO3 and ZrO2, which are used extensively in electronic devices.