Abstract: Thermal barrier coatings (TBCs), which comprise metallic and ceramic multilayers, have been widely used in the hot section of aeroturbine engines to increase turbine efficiency and to extend the life of metallic components. An improvement in TBCs requires a better understanding of the complex changes in their structure and properties that occur under harsh operating conditions that eventually lead to their failure. In this paper, the developments of TBCs over the past 30 years are briefly reviewed. A description of materials issues involved in the state-of-art and next generation TBCs systems is presented, together with a summary of the current understanding of failure mechanisms; highlighting the challenges and prospects in TBCs research.
Abstract: Silicon nitride is one of the major structural ceramics that has been developed following many years of intensive research. It possesses high flexural strength, high fracture resistance, good creep resistance, high hardness and excellent wear resistance. These properties arise from the processing of the ceramic by liquid phase sintering and the development of microstructures in which high aspect ratio grains and intergranular glass phase lead to excellent fracture toughness and high strength. The glass phase softens at high temperature and controls the creep rate of the ceramic. The purpose of this review is to examine the development of silicon nitride and the related sialons and their processing into a range of high-grade structural ceramic materials. The development of knowledge of microstructure–property relationships in silicon nitride materials is outlined, particularly recent advances in understanding the effects of grain boundary chemistry and structure on mechanical properties. This review should be of interest to scientists and engineers concerned with the processing and use of ceramics for structural engineering applications.
Abstract: Lead zirconate titanate (PZT) thick films, a few tens of micrometres thick, are of technological interest for integration with microsystems to create micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) with high sensitivity and power output. This paper examines the challenges faced in integrating thick film PZT with other materials to create functional micro devices. Thermal, chemical and mechanical challenges associated with integration will be examined and potential solutions explored.
Abstract: This paper attempts to shed light on why the stand alone microwave processing of technical ceramics, despite being one of the most popular field with respect to volume of research performed, is still struggling to achieve priority status with respect to commercialisation. To obtain some answers to this enigma and determine when microwaves should be used to process technical ceramics, three case studies are explored. The conclusion is that microwaves should be used to process technical ceramics when specific advantage can be taken of the intrinsic nature of microwave energy and not simply as an alternative energy source. In addition, it is concluded that from a commercialisation view point hybrid processing is often a better approach than the use of pure microwaves.
Abstract: Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are promising reinforcing elements for structural composites due to their remarkable mechanical properties. The impressive electrical and thermal properties of this new form of carbon also make CNTs containing composites ideal candidates for multifunctional applications. In the past decade, researchers have investigated CNTs as toughening inclusions to overcome the intrinsic brittleness of ceramics and glasses. Although there are numerous investigations available in the literature, a significant progress has not occurred or it has been rather slow compared to advances in the field of CNT/polymer matrix composites. This paper reviews current trends in research and development efforts on the use of CNTs for fabrication of ceramic and glass matrix composite materials. The review includes a summary of key issues related to the optimisation of CNT-based composites and an overview of investigations dealing with processing techniques developed to optimise dispersion quality, interfaces and density. The mechanical properties of as-produced composites are discussed and a comprehensive comparison of data available for different matrix materials is presented. Finally, the potential applications of the resulting CNT/inorganic matrix composites and the scope for future developments in the field are highlighted.
Abstract: Although standard test methods for biaxial strength measurements of ceramics have been established and the corresponding formulas for relating the biaxial strength to the fracture load have been approved by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and International Organization for Standardization, respectively, they are limited to the case of monolayered discs. Despite the increasing applications of multilayered ceramics, characterization of their strengths using biaxial flexure tests has been difficult because the analytical description of the relation between the strength and the fracture load for multilayers subjected to biaxial flexure tests is unavailable until recently. Using ring-on-ring tests as an example, the closed-form solutions for stresses in (i) monolayered discs based on ASTM formulas, (ii) bilayered discs based on Roark’s formulas, and (iii) multilayered discs based on Hsueh et al.’s formulas are reviewed in the present study. Finite element results for ring-on-rings tests performed on (i) zirconia monolayered discs, (ii) dental crown materials of porcelain/zirconia bilayered discs, and (iii) solid oxide fuel cells trilayered discs are also presented to validate the closed-form solutions. With Hsueh et al.’s formulas, the biaxial strength of multilayered ceramics can be readily evaluated using biaxial flexure tests.
Abstract: With the proliferation of several types and classes of high performance ceramic materials, the screening, evaluation and integration of new materials into structures and devices require a new and more effective approach. Evaluation on the nano-scale of the mechanical characteristics of new ceramic materials requires multiple complementary metrology tools. We report here about an advanced metrology tool, cathodoluminescence (CL) spectroscopy, which has a potential to rapidly screen and evaluate residual stress characteristics in advanced ceramic materials and structures. Nano-scale stress measurements are made in situ into an integrated metrology vacuum chamber in a field-emission gun scanning electron microscope (FEG-SEM). Complementing this tool, we also describe a new image analysis based on CL emission for fast screening and ranking of domain structures in ferroelastic ceramics. The end result of this paper is to show how crystallographic and mechanical characteristics of ceramics can be quantitatively characterized in a hybrid device combining electro-stimulated imaging and spectroscopic outputs.
Abstract: Predicting the sintering deformation of ceramic powder compacts is very important to manufactures of ceramic components. In theory the finite element method can be used to calculate the sintering deformation. In practice the method has not been used very often by the industry for a very simple reason – it is more expensive to obtain the material data required in a finite element analysis than it is to develop a product through trial and error. A finite element analysis of sintering deformation requires the shear and bulk viscosities of the powder compact. The viscosities are strong functions of temperature, density and grain-size, all of which change dramatically in the sintering process. There are two ways to establish the dependence of the viscosities on the microstructure: (a) by using a material model and (b) by fitting the experimental data. The materials models differ from each other widely and it can be difficult to know which one to use. On the other hand, obtaining fitting functions is very time consuming. To overcome this difficulty, Pan and his co-workers developed a reduced finite element method (Kiani et. al. J. Eur. Ceram. Soc., 2007, 27, 2377-2383; Huang and Pan, J. Eur. Ceram. Soc., available on line, 2008) which does not require the viscosities; rather the densification data (density as function of time) is used to predict sintering deformation. This paper provides an overview of the reduced method and a series of case studies.
Abstract: In the last ten years of ongoing research in the modeling of polycrystalline ferroelectric ceramics a myriad of analytical and numerical implementations have emerged to predict and support the engineering of ferroelectrics in both its single-crystal and polycrystalline forms. Traditional atomistic approaches capture the intrinsic behaviors, and have led to great improvements in the chemistries of these systems. Similarly, macroscopic engineering approaches have focused on the development of phenomenological descriptions that capture the empirical static and time-independent behavior. At the interface of these two apparently divorced approaches, thermodynamic-based microstructural evolution descriptions inspired in phase field models have risen as the necessary link between the atomic and macroscopic levels. This new and emerging methodology starts from the predicted behaviors given by their atomic counter-parts, and resolves the effects of grain boundaries, and de-convolves the grain-grain mesoscopic interactions. Much of the future of ferroelectrics lies in the delivery of improved chemistries and microstructures, and on bridging the understanding currently existing atomistic and continuum descriptions. Overall, it is expected that current and emerging technological challenges will be the driving force to minimize ferroelectric fatigue and realize lead-free materials with performances close to currently existing (lead containing) ones. Moreover, it is expected that while an accurate understanding of the intrinsic properties of materials are key to define improved ferroelectric solids, it will be the detailed understanding of the extrinsic response of ferroelectric materials, in both bulk and thin film form, that will take these materials to reach the highest performances possible.