This overseas travel grant will enable Dr. James Roscow (University of Bath) to visit and collaborate with Professor Clive Randall's group at Penn State University (PSU), USA, to investigate the use of the Cold Sintering Process (CSP) as a novel method for fabricating piezoelectric ceramic-based composites for ultrasonic transducer applications. The manufacturing of ceramics is an energy intensive process that had changed little in the past 10,000 years until the recent development of CSP by Randall's group (first papers published in 2016). Conventionally, inorganic ceramic materials with high melting points in a powder form are shaped, either with the aid of a liquid to form a slip before casting or through compaction under pressure, before first drying and then firing (sintering) at high temperatures (>1000 C) to consolidate and densify the polycrystalline structure. CSP, on the other hand, uses the controlled introduction of a liquid phase into the organic powder prior to the simultaneous application of pressure (typically 100-300 MPa) and moderate temperatures (~200 C) to densify the ceramic. As such, CSP has the potential to reduce the required energy for fabricating piezoelectric ceramics, and composites derived there-of, by more than 50% compared to traditional high temperature sintering approaches. Furthermore, this technique enables the direct co-sintering of ceramic and polymer phases, reducing the need for post-machining process that increase the cost of fabricating piezoelectric composites, which are widely used in medical ultrasound and SONAR devices. This overseas travel grant aims to bring together the PI's expertise in the microstructure-property relationships of piezoelectric composites with Prof. Randall's world leading expertise in the low energy processing and properties of functional ceramics, and will constitute a new collaboration between an Early Career Research, Dr. Roscow, and Prof. Randall's world leading research group at PSU.
|Effective start/end date||1/06/21 → 31/08/21|
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council