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The Lead

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...

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...

Engineers develop new materials for hydrogen storage

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

Researchers in California have created, for the...

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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.

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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.

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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