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ETH researchers engineered free-standing ceramic membranes for so-called micro energy converters. The strain patterns of these membranes control their properties. Illustration courtesy of Shi Y et al.

Buckle up for fast ionic conduction

June 16, 2015 10:24 am | by Fabio Bergamin, ETH Zurich | News | Comments

ETH material engineers found the performance of ion-conducting ceramic membranes that are so important in industry depends largely on their strain and buckling profiles. For the first time, scientists can now selectively manipulate the buckling profile, and thus the physical properties, allowing new technical applications of these membranes.

Stretchable ceramics made by flame technology

June 8, 2015 7:49 am | by Kiel Univ. | News | Comments

Synthesizing nanoscale materials takes place within high-tech laboratories, where scientists in...

Plasmonic ceramic materials key to advances in nanophotonics

March 19, 2015 3:52 pm | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Progress in developing nanophotonic devices capable of withstanding high temperatures and harsh...

Garnet ceramics ideal for high-energy lithium batteries

October 22, 2014 8:06 am | by Morgan McCorkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered exceptional properties in a garnet...

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New properties found in promising oxide ceramics for reactor fuels

September 23, 2014 2:14 pm | News | Comments

Nanocomposite oxide ceramics have potential uses as ferroelectrics, fast ion conductors, and nuclear fuels and for storing nuclear waste, generating a great deal of scientific interest on the structure, properties, and applications of these blended materials. Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers have made the first observations of the relationship between the chemistry and dislocation structures of the nanoscale interfaces.

Ceramics don’t have to be brittle

September 11, 2014 5:00 pm | by Kimm Fesenmaier, Caltech | News | Comments

Imagine a balloon that could float without using any lighter-than-air gas. Instead, it could simply have all of its air sucked out while maintaining its filled shape. Such a material might be possible with a new method developed at the California Institute of Technology that allows engineers to produce a ceramic that contains about 99.9% air yet is strong enough to recover its original shape after being smashed by more than 50%.

Neutrons, x-rays reveal structure of high-temperature liquid metal oxides

June 2, 2014 8:16 am | by Katie Bethea, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

By levitating a bead of ceramic oxide, heating it with a 400-W carbon dioxide laser, then shooting the molten material with x-rays and neutrons, scientists with Oak Ridge and Argonne national laboratories have revealed unprecedented detail of the structure of high-temperature liquid oxides.

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Engineers develop new materials for hydrogen storage

April 15, 2014 9:43 am | News | Comments

Researchers in California have created, for the first time, compounds made from mixtures of calcium hexaboride, strontium and barium hexaboride. They also demonstrated that these ceramic materials could be manufactured using a simple, low-cost manufacturing method known as combustion synthesis.

Researchers uncover secrets of a mollusk’s bioceramic armor

March 31, 2014 7:43 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

The shells of a sea creature, the mollusk Placuna placenta, are not only exceptionally tough, but also clear enough to read through. Now, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have analyzed these shells to determine exactly why they are so resistant to penetration and damage; even though they are 99% calcite, a weak, brittle mineral.

Mother-of-pearl inspires super-strong material

March 25, 2014 7:43 am | News | Comments

Whether traditional or derived from high technology, ceramics all have the same flaw: they are fragile. But now researchers in France have recently presented a new ceramic material inspired by mother-of-pearl from the small single-shelled marine mollusk abalone. This material, almost ten times stronger than a conventional ceramic, is the result of an innovative manufacturing process that includes a freezing step.

New material could make solar panels cheaper, more efficient

December 11, 2013 3:10 pm | News | Comments

A unique solar panel design made with a new ceramic material points the way to potentially providing sustainable power cheaper, more efficiently, and requiring less manufacturing time. It also reaches a four-decade-old goal of discovering a bulk photovoltaic material that can harness energy from visible and infrared light, not just ultraviolet light.

Foldable ceramic is wafer-thin, electrically conductible

March 28, 2013 12:25 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Germany have produced a paper-like material from a vanadium pentoxide ceramic which is as hard as copper, yet flexible enough to be rolled up or folded. The material is also different from other ceramics, as it is electrically conductive. Its special mechanical properties are derived from its structure, which resembles that of mother-of-pearl, and looks promising for applications in batteries, flat and flexible gas sensors, and actuators in artificial muscles.

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Researcher finds efficient technique for creating high-density ceramics

February 27, 2013 8:49 am | News | Comments

A researcher from North Carolina State University has developed a technique for creating high-density ceramic materials that requires far lower temperatures than current techniques—and takes less than a second, as opposed to hours.

Rare earth metals make water-repellent surfaces that last

January 21, 2013 8:01 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Water-shedding surfaces that are robust in harsh environments could have broad applications in many industries. Hydrophobic materials can greatly enhance the efficiency of this process. But these materials have one major problem: Most employ thin polymer coatings that degrade when heated, and can easily be destroyed by wear. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have now come up with a new class of hydrophobic ceramics that can overcome these problems.

Space-age ceramics get their toughest test

December 10, 2012 11:18 am | News | Comments

Space-age ceramics at their best promise advanced jet and gas turbine engines that burn with greater fuel efficiencies and less pollution. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists have developed the first mechanical test rig for obtaining real-time X-ray computed microtomography images at ultrahigh temperatures for improving the composition and architecture of advanced ceramic composites.

Building bones from wood

November 9, 2012 8:42 am | News | Comments

A research project in Europehas the aim of building bone implants that have been sourced from wood. The wood serves as a scaffolding that transforms to a ceramic identical to the mineral part of bone tissue: hydroxyapatite. The researchers believe the approach could appear in a clinical setting within ten years.

Ceramics made tough enough

August 31, 2002 8:00 pm | Award Winners

A research team at Advanced Ceramics Research Corp., Tucson, Ariz., have developed Fibrous Monolith Composite Ceramics that are designed to fail gracefully and to be damage tolerant. Fibrous Monoliths (FMs) are produced by blending thermodynamically compatible ceramic and/or metal powders with thermoplastic polymer binders and then co-extruding them to form a “green fiber.”

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