Alumina is one of the promising ceramic materials for a wide range of applications due to the combination of its high hardness, heat and chemical resistance. These qualities of alumina can be fully used only with a fine-grained structure of this ceramics.
There are at least two effective approaches to obtain a fine-grained structure in alumina-based ceramics: application of additives and using of well-controlled sintering techniques like Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS).
There are a lot of articles about SPS of alumina ceramics, but none of them provides a thorough analysis of the sintering kinetics of each of the stages of the sintering process and the investigation of the role of the additives at each of these stages.
Thus, SPS of alumina will be discussed.

Maksim Boldin is the Head of the Ceramic Technology Lab at Research and Development Institute of Physics and Technology, National Research Lobachevsky State University (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia).
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