April 26, 2010 — Thermal Technology recently partnered with Quad Cities Manufacturing Laboratory (QCML), a center of excellence for research, development and training in titanium, lightweight composites and other advanced materials.

“We’re proud that Quad Cities Manufacturing Lab, with its focus on titanium alloys, selected Thermal Technology’s Spark Plasma Sintering system to facilitate the advancement of their research. Our system will produce pilot production parts, lightweight composites, and other advanced materials for numerous applications,” says Matt Mede, president and CEO of Thermal Technology.

Spark plasma sintering (SPS) is a novel sintering technique similar to conventional hot press technology. The main characteristic of SPS is that a pulsed DC current is passed directly through the die and powder material. The heat is therefore generated very quickly within the material, netting very high heating rates and unique particle bonding characteristics, regardless of material conductivity. Minimal grain growth, uniform heating, and minimal effect on microstructure are among the benefits of SPS technology, making it especially useful for processing sub micron, nano-phase, and mixed materials.

“SPS technology can produce very high densities, including full theoretical densities, in only a few minutes,” says Bob Aalund, Thermal Technology’s SPS business development manager. “ It can also easily provide specific levels of porosity. The speed of the process ensures it has the potential to densify nanosize or nanostructure powders while avoiding coarsening, which accompanies standard densification routes.”

Thermal Technology designs and manufactures crystal growing systems and high temperature vacuum and controlled atmosphere laboratory and production furnaces for the advanced processing of metals, ceramics, glass, quarts and crystal growing applications. Thermal Technology has over 60 years of experience and more than 3000 installations in 40 countries.