Spark Gap Glass

Spark Gap Glass

Direct spark electrosintering fabrication
2013-2014, Granular media
MIT Media Lab

Steven Keating,John Klein,Prof. Neri Oxman

Our initial experiments in direct spark electrosintering fabrication have demonstrated a capacity to solidify granular materials (35-88 micron soda ash glass powder) rapidly using high voltages and power in excess of 1 kW.  The test bed high voltage setup is comprised of a 220V 60A variable autotransformer and a 14,400V line transformer.  There are two different methods to form members using electro-sintering: the one electrode drag (1ED) and the two electrode drag (2ED) techniques. The 1ED leaves the first electrode static while dragging the second electrode through the granular mixture. This maintains a live current running through the drag path and continually increases the thickness of the member due to the dissipation of heat.  Large member elements have been produced with a tube diameter of around 0.75”. The 2ED method pulls the two electrodes through the granular mixture together, which sinters the material between the two electrodes in a more controlled manner.

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