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Numerical modeling of the spark plasma sintering process

Abstract : Spark plasma sintering process (SPS) is a breakthrough technology for producing high quality sintered materials. An electric current is applied simultaneously with a vertical load to sinter the powder placed in a graphite mould. Joule effect leads to high heating rates which are favorable for enhancing the microstructure and physical properties. However, manufacturing complex shapes is problematic due to heterogeneities in density distribution that may appeari during compaction. For that reason, the development of a numerical model to predict sintering is necessary. The model should help controlling temperature and stress distributions, which are responsible for the microstructure homogeneity. A 3D numerical model is developed to ensure a predictive tool for SPS using CimLib, a code developed at CEMEF. The numerical model presents three physical problems strongly coupled: an electric problem, a thermal problem and a mechanical problem. A monolithic approach is used which consists in solving one equation for each problem using one unique mesh for tools and powder. First the electric thermal coupling is modeled and the numerical simulations are validated by comparison with commercial codes. A viscoplastic compressible law based on Abouaf model is implemented to model the densification of TiAl powder. This model is validated by comparing the numerical results of different compaction tests with analytic solutions using a Lagrangian and Eulerian framework. Then a fully coupled electric-thermal-mechanical simulation is carried out. In the monolithic framework, a model is developed to take into account friction effects between powder and mould. Finally, the parameters of the selected material law are identified for TiAl powder using our numerical model and SPS experiments. Sintering of different samples is then simulated. Results are compared with the experiments in terms of density distribution and displacement.
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Pamela Mondalek. Numerical modeling of the spark plasma sintering process. Other. Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012ENMP0084⟩. ⟨pastel-00820191⟩

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