Microwaves heating up ultra-high temperature (UHT) ceramics industry

A key to building denser, stronger materials that won’t fail or fracture under extreme conditions is the manufacture of ultra-high temperature, or UHT, ceramics. UHT ceramics can withstand highly extreme conditions, such as the heat coming out of a rocket as its launching into space.

With support from the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research program, materials scientist Holly Shulman and her team at a company called Ceralink are developing UHT ceramics using a new method that harnesses the power of microwaves.

The machines they use to make the UHT ceramics still fire up to high temperatures. But, rather than combining the heat with high pressure to make the material super hard and strong, they use microwave assist technology (MAT) furnaces. It’s a process called ‘enhanced diffusion.” The goal is to make the industrial manufacture of high quality UHT ceramic parts faster and cheaper.

Provided by the National Science Foundation

Runtime: 3:03

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