The properties of ceramic materials are strongly dependent on the microstructure and consequently on the sintering process. In this project, sintering of zirconia- and ceria-based solid electrolytes (ZrO2:8 mol% Y2O3 cubic zirconia - 8YSZ and CeO2:20 mol% Sm2O3 cubic ceria - 20SDC), important materials for research and application in devices, will be studied by a novel sintering process, namely, flash sintering. Flash sintering consists in applying a suitable AC/DC voltage to the specimen at temperatures lower than the conventional sintering temperature, producing dense bodies. Alkali halides (LiF, KCl and NaCl) will be used as sintering aids. Several parameters will be taken into account: magnitude and frequency of the applied electric field, and limit of current density. The experimental techniques to be employed for the characterization of the flash sintered pellets are scanning electron microscopy and impedance spectroscopy. The results will provide detailed information on the properties and performance of the flash sintered pellets. Conventional sintering will also be carried out as a basis for comparison. Controlled microstructure as well as improved electrical performance is expected to result from the collected data. Keywords: electric field assisted sintering, liquid phase sintering, sintering aids, solid electrolyte, zirconia, ceria.
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