Advanced Ceramics / Firing and Drying

Product Profile: Spark Plasma Sintering System Fitted with Glove Box

Thermal Technology recently shipped a 25-ton, 10,000-amp spark plasma sintering (SPS) system to Idaho National Laboratory’s (INL) Center for Space NuclearThermal technology Research (CSNR). The SPS model 25-10 is fitted with a glove box for handling materials in a controlled environment and will be integral to the CSNR’s study of advanced high-temperature fuel and structural materials fabrication.

“This system represents another milestone for our SPS product line,” says Matt Mede, president and CEO of Thermal Technology. “Our open component design philosophy lends itself well to such a project. Only relatively minor engineering adjustments are required to accommodate a glove box that is fully flexible per the user’s requirements.”

Robert O’Brien, Ph.D., of the INL’s Center for Space Nuclear Research is the principal investigator for its cermet fuels and radioisotope encapsulation research programs, and serves as the Radiological Spark Plasma Sintering (RSPS) facility lead. “Located at the INL’s Center for Advanced Energy Studies, the RSPS facility will allow the CSNR to conduct pioneering research into advanced fabrication methods for future high-performance nuclear fuels while creating a truly unique facility that will be open for collaborative use by the international research community,” O’Brien said.

SPS has multiple commercial applications. The technology is in a class of non-conventional sintering techniques, because heat is generated internally, as opposed to conventional methods of materials densification such as hot pressing, wherein the heat is external to the sample. While traditional methods of materials processing require hours to reach peak temperature, SPS takes only minutes. This can provide significant time and energy savings, as well as the ability to retain material grain structures, which can be an important feature when processing nano-structure materials.

Thermal Technology’s SPS systems are designed with highly rigid four-post press frames, an extra-large working chamber and large access doors. The flexible footprint can accommodate users’ spatial limitations, while the advanced power supply provides adjustability and heat rates greater than 1500°C per minute. Digital servo valve-controlled hydraulics ensure ultra-fine force control, while programming and data acquisition are accomplished using an on- or off-line PC system.

About the Company
Thermal Technology is a global provider of advanced thermal processing systems, including crystal growth technology, hot presses and SPS systems, and high-temperature vacuum and controlled atmosphere laboratory and production furnaces for the advanced processing of metals, ceramics, glass, quartz and crystal growing applications. The company has more than 60 years of experience and more than 3,000 installations in 40 countries.

For information, contact or visit

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Ceramic Industry Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

December 2014 Issue Highlights

Our December 2014 issue is now available! Posted: April 27, 2015.


Ceramics Expo podcast
Editor Susan Sutton discusses the upcoming Ceramics Expo with event director Adam Moore.
More Podcasts

Ceramic Industry Magazine

CI May 2015 cover

2015 May

Our May issue covers bulk batching, pneumatic conveyors, high-temperature furnaces and more! Be sure to check it out today.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Daily News

We know where you find the latest ceramic industry news (ahem), but where do you catch up on the rest of your daily news?
View Results Poll Archive


M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\Ceramics Industry\handbook of advanced ceramics.gif
Handbook of Advanced Ceramics Machining

Ceramics, with their unique properties and diverse applications, hold the potential to revolutionize many industries, including automotive and semiconductors.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40google+ icon 40px


CI Data Book July 2012

Ceramic Industry's Directories including Components, Equipment Digest, Services, Data Book & Buyers Guide, Materials Handbook and much more!