Abstract The macroscopic properties of most materials are strongly influenced by grain size. In ceramic materials the microstructure usually results from the sintering process. Understanding the basic mechanisms of grain growth on an atomic length scale in ceramics would be beneficial to tailor the microstructure for improved macroscopic performance of devices. A method is presented using grain growth experiments to select samples for closer examination of grain boundaries with transmission electron microscopy. The growth experiments are used to identify temperatures were changes at grain boundaries occur at high temperature. Subsequently samples of interest are investigated using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) methods. The correlation between TEM results and changes in grain growth behavior can be used to gain closer insight into the processes occurring during grain growth at an atomic length scale. Strontium titanate is used as model system to demonstrate the combination of growth experiments with TEM results. Normal grain growth shows two distinct drops in growth rate in the temperature range between 1 300 and 1 425 °C, independent of the A-site to B-site stoichiometry of the perovskite. In previous studies a high preference for grain boundary planes oriented parallel to the 100 direction of one of the adjacent grains was found in the high temperature regime. This study shows that the preference does not exist in the low temperature regime possibly explaining the change in grain growth rate.
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