; Hu Xiao-fang
; Niu Yu
; Zhao Jian-hua] Univ Sci & Technol China, Key Lab Mech Behav & Design Mat, Chinese Acad Sci, Hefei 230026, Peoples R China
; [Yuan Qing-xi] Chinese Acad Sci, Inst High Energy Phys, Beijing 100049, Peoples R China
Grain evolution of boron carbide ceramic powder during isothermal sintering process was in situ investigated by synchrotron radiation X-ray computed tomography (SR-CT) technique. The process of grain growth and material migration during three sintering stages was clearly distinguished from the 2-D and 3-D reconstructed images. The results show that from room temperature to 1 200 degrees C (0-270 min), grains gradually approach each other and form the sintering neck but grain growth does not start, which is indicated as the initial sintering stage. While the sintering time is between 270-390 min (temperature is 1 200 degrees C), material migration between grains starts, while grains and sintering neck grow up, which is defined as the middle sintering stage. As the sintering time exceeds 390 min (temperature is 1 200 degrees C), pores become isolated and spheroidized, which shows the final sintering stage. The double logarithm curve of mean grain radius and time logarithm during middle stage of isothermal sintering process is obtained from reconstructed images and the grain growth exponent is 0.364 03, falling in the predicted range of the traditional sintering theory. The experiment results are in accordance with those of the traditional sintering theory and provide effective experimental data for further analysis of the sintering process and the mechanical characteristics of ceramics.