FAST - Center of Excellence


Field Assisted Sintering Technique (FAST) is an emerging manufacturing technology that offers higher heat rates, lower sintering temperature and times than conventional consolidation processes. FAST has several advantages including fast process times, reduced grain growth (retention of nanoscale features in nanomaterials), high density, and superior physical and mechanical properties. FAST can be used to rapidly sinter metals, ceramics, and composites (including metal matrix composites, and ceramic matrix composites). Penn State is the only academic institution in the country having three FAST systems ranging 25, 250 and 325 tons with maximum operating temperature of 2200°C and can be used in vacuum, back filled with nitrogen or argon gas. These units allow to manufacture components up to 350 diameter (14 inches) and height 150-250 mm (6-10 inches) depending upon materials.  These systems have been used to produce ceramic, metal, and composite material systems include ceramic armor, high thermal conductivity materials, blanks for cutting tools, sputtering and x-ray targets, rocket nozzles and heat sinks. This research facility is available for joint collaborative research and making prototype components.

Benefits of FAST

  • High flexibility in processing of materials including functionally graded components
  • Processing cycle time: 70-80 times faster than conventional methods 
  • Theoretical density achievable (up to 100%)
  • Good interface between two dissimilar materials
  • Fabrication of net-shaped components
  • Retention of nanograined structure
  • 20% to 33% less energy consumption