The sintering mechanism of BiFeO3 has been investigated in-situ by energy dispersive X-ray diffraction (ED-XRD) using a high-energy white collimated X-ray beam from the Advanced Photon Source (Argonne National Laboratories). Such radiation is very penetrating thereby allowing measurements of the sample even when placed inside the flash sintering set up. Additionally, the fast ED-XRD measurements permit monitoring the flash sintering process by providing information about phase composition and sample temperature in real time. Moreover, profile scans, obtained by moving the stage vertically while recording the ED-XRD spectra, permit investigating the homogeneity of the flash for the entire length of the sample. All experiments have been complemented by ex-situ studies. It has been concluded that flash sintering of BiFeO3 is a homogeneous process without any directionality effects. Furthermore, flash sintering takes place at quite low temperatures (below the Tc ≈ 830 °C), which may be related to the high quality of the samples, as pure, highly insulating ceramics without evidence of secondary phases with a homogenous nanostructured grain size distribution are obtained by this technique. Moreover, it is also evidenced that the rapid heating of the sample does not seem to justify, at least by itself, the densification process. Therefore, it appears that the electric current should play a role in the enhanced mobility during the sintering process.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Process Chemistry and Technology
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry