The inelastic deformation properties of sintered metal nanoparticle joints are complicated by the inherent nanocrystalline and nanoporous structures as well as by dislocation networks formed in sintering or under cyclic loading. Creep rates of sintered nanocopper structures were found to be dominated by the diffusion of individual atoms or vacancies, while dislocation motion remained negligible up to stresses far above those of practical interest. Rapid sintering of one material led to unstable structures the creep of which could be strongly reduced by subsequent annealing or aging. Longer sintering of another material led to more stable structures, but creep rates could still be strongly enhanced by subsequent work hardening in mild cycling.

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