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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2013, Article ID 101508, 6 pages
Research Article

Applied Pressure on Altering the Nano-Crystallization Behavior of Al86Ni6Y4.5Co2La1.5 Metallic Glass Powder during Spark Plasma Sintering and Its Effect on Powder Consolidation

1The University of Queensland, School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, ARC Centre of Excellence for Design in Light Metals, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
2Unité Matériaux et Transformations, UMR CNRS 8207, Université Lille 1, Bâtiment C6, 59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq, France

Received 19 December 2012; Accepted 25 January 2013

Academic Editor: Jianxin Zou

Copyright © 2013 X. P. Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Metallic glass powder of the composition Al86Ni6Y4.5Co2La1.5 was consolidated into 10 mm diameter samples by spark plasma sintering (SPS) at different temperatures under an applied pressure of 200 MPa or 600 MPa. The heating rate and isothermal holding time were fixed at 40°C/min and 2 min, respectively. Fully dense bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) free of particle-particle interface oxides and nano-crystallization were fabricated under 600 MPa. In contrast, residual oxides were detected at particle-particle interfaces (enriched in both Al and O) when fabricated under a pressure of 200 MPa, indicating the incomplete removal of the oxide surface layers during SPS at a low pressure. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed noticeable nano-crystallization of face-centered cubic (fcc) Al close to such interfaces. Applying a high pressure played a key role in facilitating the removal of the oxide surface layers and therefore full densification of the Al86Ni6Y4.5Co2La1.5 metallic glass powder without nano-crystallization. It is proposed that applied high pressure, as an external force, assisted in the breakdown of surface oxide layers that enveloped the powder particles in the early stage of sintering. This, together with the electrical discharge during SPS, may have benefitted the viscous flow of metallic glasses during sintering.