Thermal Technology of Santa Rosa, Calif., recently partnered with Quad City Manufacturing Lab (QCLM), a center for research, development and training in titanium, lightweight composites and other advanced materials. QCML, located in Rock Island, Ill., selected Thermal Technology’s spark plasma sintering (SPS) system to facilitate the advancement of its research. The system will produce pilot production parts, lightweight composites and other advanced materials for numerous applications.

SPS is a 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.