Materials scientists at the University of Wales Aberystwyth (UWA) are taking ceramics to new heights in order to determine the structure and stability of the materials which are used to construct aeroplane engines and the tiles for the space shuttle.
Dr Rudi Winter and colleagues from the Department of Physics at UWA are using a unique combination of techniques to study the materials at extreme temperatures which simulate those experienced when aircraft travel at high speed or when they decelerate rapidly.
"Ceramics have been used as heat shields in spacecraft re-entering into the atmosphere, and in aircraft engines because the burning temperatures are too high for most metals." says Dr Winter. "At present, ceramic linings are not used for normal civil aircraft, although metal-ceramic composites may be used one day for that purpose if the favourable mechanical properties of metals can be married with the good thermal behaviour of ceramics. That is why it is important to understand the structural response of these materials to mechanical and thermal impact, so that we learn to square the circle.".
Arthur Dafis | alphagalileo
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