Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Engineers Crack Ceramics Production Obstacle

New computer-aided ‘predictive technology’ has potential to save industry time, money and reduce wastage

Engineers at the University of Leicester have invented a new technique in the manufacture of ceramics that has the potential to save the industry time and costs while reducing wastage.

The novel method takes away the traditional ‘trial and error’ approach to manufacture of ceramics and instead applied new computer modelling techniques to the manufacturing process.

Researchers at the University of Leicester, led by Professor Jingzhe Pan of the Department of Engineering, focused on a critical step in the manufacture of ceramics known as ‘sintering’.

Professor Pan explained: “Ceramics constitute vital domestic, industrial and building products, and are perhaps indispensable in our modern society. However, manufacturing advanced ceramics even in this era of ‘precision’ techniques is still very much a ‘trial and error’ process.

“Ceramics are produced from firstly compacting powders into a solid, and then firing the powder compacts in a process called ‘sintering’. During this, powders are heated to a temperature where they adhere to each other. At this stage, materials are essentially re-packed more closely, such that overall volume decreases (shrinks), whilst the density increases. Ceramics are intrinsically brittle making post-production alterations in dimensions very difficult. Failure to accurately estimate the final dimensions of ceramic parts, therefore lead to a waste of materials, time and money. “

Professor Pan’s technique helps to minimise errors during the sintering process. He said: “By predicting change in dimension during sintering is challenging, requiring extensive data on the material in question. Obtaining the required physical data has been difficult and expensive.

“Our method simply uses density measurements of different ceramics during sintering in our computer software that can predict changes in dimensions, even before production begins.

“This method does not depend on the physical properties of any one ceramic material - it simply uses densification data from a small sample of the material and extrapolates the data, such that it can be applied to larger quantities used in manufacturing. It can thus, be applied to a wide range of ceramics”.

Professor Pan, who has been investigating this process for the last 10 years, added that the ceramic industry is aware of the enormous potential of computer and mathematical modelling, and of the benefits of shifting emphasis from historical data to a more predictive approach. However, several challenges need to be overcome before this method reaches daily application in industry.

For example, the system will need to be converted into a more ‘user-friendly’ format for industrial use. Further, the technique will have to be demonstrated in a range of industrial products.

Since inventing this technique, which for the first time, shows real potential of revolutionising the ceramic industry, Professor Pan and his group have continued to explore various properties of ceramic materials. They are currently investigating properties of multi-layered ceramics (commonly used in fuel cells) and industrial (ceramic) coating.

Ather Mirza | University of Leicester
Further information:

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Intelligent wheelchairs, predictive prostheses
20.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

nachricht Jelly with memory – predicting the leveling of com-mercial paints
15.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>