The Influence of Oxygen and Nitrogen Contamination on the Densification Behavior of Cryomilled Copper Powders during Spark Plasma Sintering


It has been found difficult to fully densify some mechanically milled pure metal powders by spark plasma sintering (SPS). In this study, the densification behavior of cryomilled, nanostructured (NS) Cu powders during SPS was related to changes to the chemistry of the powders. The results showed that the presence of very small amounts of O and N in the powders, which were introduced during cryomilling and handling, significantly influenced the densification response. Moreover, reduction/removal of O/N via thermal annealing of the powders before SPS led to complete densification of the powders during subsequent SPS. The mechanisms responsible for this behavior were ascertained: O and N existed in the cryomilled powders in the form of thermally unstable compounds, and the subsequent thermal decomposition of these compounds during SPS generated the gaseous species, leading to porosity formation and incomplete densification; annealing of the powders before SPS removed the gases which resulted from thermal decomposition, thereby facilitating complete consolidation during subsequent SPS.


Materials Science and Engineering

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2011 Springer Netherlands, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2011