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Improving the mechanical properties of nanoceramics

Porous ceramic nanostructures are interesting and promising for a variety of technological fields such as catalysis, sensors, filters, membranes, batteries, energy conversion devices, structural colors, and reflective thermal barrier coatings. However, to be able to incorporate such 3D highly-porous structures into devices, it is crucial to ensure their ability to withstand mechanical loads during operation. That is why understanding the influence of the materials' structure on their mechanical properties is of utmost importance. The situation becomes even more complex when such materials are exposed to high temperatures, demanding an understanding of how temperature impacts their structural integrity.

In a recent work, the Integrated Materials Systems (IMS) group of TUHH, led by Prof. Kaline P. Furlan and the Institute of Materials Mechanics of Hereon, led by Prof. Norbert Huber, have partnered to understand and explain how to improve the mechanical properties of ceramic-based isoporous structures produced by self-assembly and atomic layer deposition.

Working closely together, the teams discovered something surprising - when they made the outer layer of the ceramics thicker and the pores bigger, the nanoceramics were better at handling high temperatures. But here's the twist - this change didn't actually make them stronger. In fact, computer simulations showed the thickest layers might actually create more weak spots where the ceramics could break, leading to lower mechanical properties as observed in the mechanical testing experiments. Such enhanced understanding of the structures’ intricate mechanical behavior is important because it brings us one step closer to using these nanoceramics in real devices.

The researchers are now exploring how they can make the nanoceramics even stronger by changing the composition of the materials and creating intricate structuring in the nanoscale. This is made possible because the TUHH’s IMS group expertise in coating and functionalizing 3D structures by atomic layer deposition. Want to know more about the mechanical properties of such materials? Then have a look at the open access paper, as well as the Integrated Materials Systems group and the Institute of Materials Mechanics websites.

Image copyright: 2022 The Authors. Journal of American Ceramic Society published by Wiley-VCH GmbH (Creative Commons Attribution License, CC BY-NC 4.0).


Prof. Dr.Sc.Eng. Kaline P. Furlan

Hamburg University of Technology

Institute of Advanced Ceramics

Integrated Materials Systems Group