Two-step sintering of dense, nanostructural forsterite
This paper investigates a method for preparing the nanocrystalline forsterite dense ceramic via sintering the forsterite nanopowder. The two-step sintering (TSS) method has been applied to suppress the accelerated grain growth of forsterite nanopowder compacts. The effects of sintering parameters on the mechanical properties and the microstructure characteristics of the forsterite ceramic were studied. Results verified the applicability of this method to suppress the final stage of grain growth in the system. The grain size of the high density compacts (~98.5% TD) of the forsterite was 60–75 nm. The optimal hardness (940 Hv) and fracture toughness (3.61 MPa.m1/2) of the prepared nanocrystalline forsterite were found to be higher than those of the currently available hydroxyapatite bioceramics. It was concluded that the two-step sintering method can be used to fabricate improved forsterite dense ceramics with desired bioactivity and mechanical properties that might be suitable for hard tissue repair and biomedical applications.