Responsible : Paul Bowen
Powder processing is an integral part in the fabrication of ceramic pieces with specific microstructural futures. Even the most ideal powder choice will not guarantee that the desired ceramic properties can be achieved if the powder processing is neglected or badly designed.
Defects resulting in poor mechanical properties due to powder agglomeration, anisotropic or excessive grain growth as well as undesired coloration due to contaminants and inhomogeneous shrinkage during sintering are only a few problems commonly encountered in structural/mechanical ceramic pieces. Such defects can also have a huge effect on functional properties such as transparency.
Additionally, specific processing methods may have to be developed for applications where specific morphological properties are desired. For instance micro-patterning (i.e. self-assembly) as well as porous or meso-porous ceramic films or structures might be required for applications such as inkjet photoquality paper, catalysers or solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs).