U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Scripta Materialia 67 (2012) 81–84;

doi: 10.1016/2012.03.024


The sintering behavior and microstructural evolution of a powder compact is influenced strongly by initial properties, such as the relative density, the particle and pore size distribution, and the powder packing. While the influence of the former parameters on the microstructural evolution has been investigated in some detail, the impact of the initial packing of the powder has been mostly overlooked. However, research has shown that the sintering behavior of a powder can be significantly improved if the powder is regularly packed.

This has been shown for monodisperse spherical TiO2 particles [1], which sintered 10 times faster and exhibited almost no grain growth compared to ordinary TiO2. Similar observations has been made for homogeneously packed Al2O3 [2], SiO2 [3], as well as a number of other materials [4]. Monodispersed spherical TiO2 particles have been shown to order in face-centered cubic (fcc) arrays, while the SiO2 powder forms stacked planes of hexagonal close-packed (hcp) particles. Close packing of monodispersed silica has also been observed [5]. Sintering of two-dimensional close packing cylinders has also been demonstrated experimentally [6–8] and numerically modeled [9,10], and the sintering of particle clusters in three dimensions has also been studied [11].