Integrated Process Simulation of Powder Metallurgical Shaping and Sintering Applied to the Optimization of Porcelain Tile Manufacturing

Carine Lourenco Alves, M.Sc.


Powder metallurgical processing including densification by pressureless sintering is a well-established manufacturing process, which is used worldwide in large scale, e.g. for the production of affordable steel parts, high strength aluminum components and respective composites, and – most essentially – of almost all ceramic products.

Ceramic porcelain tiles, a particularly high added value traditional ceramic product is currently produced by a sequence of processing steps, which can be roughly classified in powder processing, shaping or forming through pressing; and thermal treatments including drying and sintering.


Fig. 1: Flowchart of porcelain manufacturing process


A generalized and integrated use of the data for a comprehensive production control, optimization is still missing due to the discrete nature of particulate systems, where the behavior depends on several aspects of the individual particles. Thus, the manufacturing sintered products is guided by insights, material characterization or trial and error approaches. This traditional procedure of testing and changing the process temperatures is costly. Hence, a simulation approach that allows predicting the more suitable temperatures, may avoid expensive experimentation to develop components. Additionally, the effect of varying sintering temperatures, heating rates, etc. may be rapidly evaluated and the optimal conditions determined, so that sintering can be accomplished economically, more energetically efficient and in the shortest period of time possible. 

Under supervision of Asst.-Prof. Dosta, Discrete Element Method (DEM) simulation framework MUSEN ( was developed. The DEM implemented on this framework has been applied on the modelling of different sub-steps employed in the porcelain manufacturing process, like milling, mixing, compression and sintering. In industrial production processes, nevertheless, flowsheet calculations are more effective considering several apparatuses and production steps connected by material and energy streams. The DYSSOL (Dynamic Simulation of Interconnected Solids Processes)( is a simulation framework used for modeling different processes such as milling, continuous fluidized bed granulation or chemical looping combustion.

Goals of the project

The main objective of this project is modeling and simulation of powder metallurgical processing including liquid phase sintering as multistep processes using multiscale simulation. Not only, modeling each individual step of the processing chain separately, but also a transfer of data from step to step starting with the powder mixture and ending at product performance.

Fig. 2: Multiscale process treatment


Models of each process chain from literature will be used in DYSSOL framework ( for macroscale simulations at first instance. DEM implemented in MUSEN framework ( will be coupled with flowsheet frameworks to define boundary conditions, start simulations and obtain simulation results. The obtained results will be used to calculate parameters of macroscopic models which will be coupled in DYSSOL ( Experimental results and previous industrial data are going to be used to compare the simulations results. Subsequently, development and implementation of optimization strategies and optimization of global production process will be made. 


Fig. 3: Schematic of the project

Selected Publications

Alves, C. L., De Noni Jr, A., Janssen, R., Hotza, D., Neto, J. R., González, S. G.,  Dosta, M. (2021). Integrated process simulation of porcelain stoneware manufacturing using flowsheet simulation. CIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology, 33, 473-487.

Skorych, V., Dosta, M., Heinrich, S. (2020). Dyssol—An open-source flowsheet simulation framework for particulate materials. SoftwareX, 12, 100572.

Skorych V., Dosta M., Hartge E.-U., Heinrich S. (2017). Novel system for dynamic flowsheet simulation of solids processes, Powd. Techn. 314, 665-679.


Project Funding and Start Date

Start Date: February 2020.

Funding: DFG-CAPES collaborative research initiative.

Cooperation Partners

  • Institute of Advanced Ceramics, Hamburg University of Technology, Germany (Dr.-Ing. Rolf Janssen)
  • Laboratory of Ceramic Processing (PROCER), Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil (Prof. Dachamir Hotza, Prof. Sergio Yesid Gómez González and Prof. Agenor de Noni Jr.)
  • Laboratories of Materials (LABMAT), Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil (Prof. João Batista Rodrigues Neto)

Contact Details