Ceramics and Glass Topics at Texas Materials Institute

Ceramics and glasses are used extensively in modern engineering components because they have unique physical, mechanical, and structural characteristics. A wide range of applications exist for these materials from piezoelectric sensors, to electrodes in batteries, to biomaterial implants. Some examples of research projects in which TMI faculty, students, and researchers are currently engaged are listed below.

Materials synthesis and processing

Processing of Structural Ceramics and Ceramic Composites:
Processing of novel structural ceramics and low-cost ceramic composites that exhibit improved mechanical behavior at room temperature and at elevated temperatures are being investigated. Direct laser sintering is being studied as a rapid manufacturing process that is used to directly build solid ceramic parts without molds or dies. Laser-Assisted Chemical Vapor Deposition (LACVD) is being used to deposit chemically-resistant ceramic coatings and to join ceramic components.

High Tc Superconductors:
Detailed studies are performed on the surface coordination of YBa2Cu3O7 with the aim of controlling the interfacial properties of high-Tc superconductors at the molecular-scale. Optical sensors and switches based on coating superconductor devices with light absorbing dye are being developed. The mechanisms for corrosion of YBa2Cu3O7 is also being investigated. New compositions of high-Tc superconductors with improved properties are being studied.

Synthesis of Electrochemical and Magnetic Ceramics:
Low temperature solution-based methods are being used to synthesize novel transition metal oxides for use as electrodes in rechargeable lithium batteries.

Bioceramics:
Photoactive coatings of glass and ceramics are being developed as bactericidal surfaces. Novel artificial ceramics are being investigated for implants in the repair of damaged bone.

Characterization

Mechanical Behavior:
The influence of microstructure on the fracture toughness, strength, and reliability of ceramics and ceramic composites is being investigated. Low-cost ceramic composites made from oxide laminates are being tested as possible replacements for ceramic matrix composites. The adhesion of oxide and non-oxide ceramic coatings to metallic substrates is being investigated.

Electrochemical and Magnetic Phenomena:
The properties of transition metal oxides for use as electrodes in rechargeable lithium batteries. Oxide-ion and mixed ionic-electronic conductors which are of interest in oxygen separation membranes and solid oxide fuel cells are also being studied. Magnetic, properties, problems of ionic motion in solids, as well as mixed-valent phenomenon occurring at the transition from localized to itinerant electronic behavior are studied.

Glasses:
The complex rheological behavior of amorphous organic and inorganic compounds are being investigated to better understand relaxation processes in inorganic glasses and their relation to chemical bonding. Carbon composite membranes are being investigated for gas separation applications.

Faculty list