The GeniCore Upgraded Field Assisted Sintering Technology U-FAST was applied to the sintering of a commercial Zr-based bulk metallic glass powder AMZ4. The XRD, SEM and DSC analysis of the sintered compacts showed the benefit of the U-FAST method as an enabler for the production of fully amorphous samples with 100% relative density when sintering at 420 °C/480 s (693 K/480 s) and 440 °C/ 60 s (713 K/480 s). The hardness values for fully amorphous samples, over HV1 519, surpass cast materials and 1625 MPa compressive strengths are comparable to commercial cast products. The advantage of the U-FAST technology in this work is attributed to the high heating and cooling rates inherent to ultra-short pulses, which allow to maintain metastable structures and achieve better temperature control during the process. Increasing sintering temperature and time led to the crystallization of the materials. The geometry and material of the dies and punch determine the thermal inertia and pressure distribution inside the compacts, thus affecting the properties of the near net shape NNS compacts made using the U-FAST device.
Keywords: SPS; bulk metallic glasses; rapid sintering; spark plasma sintering.