Field Assisted Sintering Technologies (FAST)

A research facility for joint collaborative research and prototyping

Field Assisted Sintering Technique (FAST) is an emerging manufacturing technology that offers higher heat rates, lower sintering temperature, and faster 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 with 25, 250 and 325 ton capacities, with maximum operating temperatures of 2200°C. These systems can be used in combination with vacuum systems or back filled with nitrogen or argon gas.

These units allow ARL to manufacture components up to 350mm in diameter (~14 inches) and with heights up to 150mm – 250mm (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.

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%)
  • Effective interface between two dissimilar materials
  • Fabrication of net-shaped components
  • Retention of nanograined structure
  • 20% to 33% less energy consumption than other methods

FAST Applications

  • Body Armor Protection
  • Ceramic-Metal Joining
  • Cutting Tool Industry
  • IR - Windows
  • Net-shaped Forming Components
  • Sensors - MEMS
  • Thermal Management - Microelectronics
  • Thermo-electric Materials
  • Turbine Industry

ARL is committed to our employee’s health and well-being by supporting Penn State initiatives, local health officials, and government leaders in preventing COVID-19 in the workplace.

Our employees whose work or research can be done remotely, from home, are doing so. We have also given the opportunity of a flexible work schedule to assist our employees who have other obligations to consider. For those whose work or research requires them to be in our laboratories, offices, or on campus, we are following all protocols necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including mandatory mask training, strict safety procedures, and a network of contacts for reporting any ill-feeling symptoms.

As new employees join our workforce, the above guidelines apply. 

You can be confident that we will maintain our vigilant enforcement of all COVID-19 protocols in our workplace to ensure the health and safety of everyone.

Our strength comes from our people… we are a diverse group of professionals who hail from all over this great Nation, with all kinds of experience and expertise. As a team, we will get through this together with patience, diligence, vigilance, and resilience.