U.S.-Netherlands Cooperative Research: High-Pressure Technology and Synthesis of Advanced Ceramic Materials
Vladimir Hlavacek Principal Investigator
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This award will support a one-year cooperative research project between Professor Vladimir Hlavacek, Chemical Engineering Department, State University of New York at Buffalo, and Prof. Dr. Ir. K. R. Westerterp, Twente University of Technology, Enschede, The Netherlands. The engineers will cooperate in an experimental and theoretical examination of the role of high-pressure technology in the processing of advanced ceramic materials. They will carry out research on a high-temperature, high-pressure, self-propagating synthesis process that will simultaneously provide for the synthesis and sintering of ceramic powders without the use of additives. The process utilizes the liberation of heat by a strongly exothermic reaction under high pressure, and takes place quickly. A similar approach is being investigated to achieve bonding between different ceramic materials and between ceramics and metals in such a way that the resulting bonded materials have high strength and good thermal shock resistance. The processes will be simulated on a supercomputer for typical values of the governing parameters. Such simulations should provide insights into conditions within the various samples under investigation, and guide the selection of materials and optimum experimental conditions. Advanced ceramic materials possess specialized properties that make them potentially useful in high-performance applications ranging from heat- and wear-resistant parts to electronic and optical devices. For some applications their superior performance may lead to reduced costs, and they may substitute for a variety of scarce materials. The procedures under study here are expected to be less expensive than current technologies in this area. By combining Professor Hlavacek's expertise in the synthesis of ceramic materials with Professor Westerterp's experience and resources in high-pressure reaction engineering, the engineers expect to enhance their research progress in this field significantly, and to prepare the new materials in larger quantities than is currently possible in Professor Hlavacek's laboratory in Buffalo. Funds from this award would support necessary transportation and subsistence expenses for the U.S. principal investigator. The government of The Netherlands, through the Twente University of Technology, is also providing support for the project.