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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.”