ERDC Advanced Materials Initiative Team Participates in Int’l Ceramics Congress

Published Aug. 3, 2012


Public Affairs Office

CHICAGO, Ill. – ERDC Construction Engineering Research Laboratory’s (CERL’s) Tom Carlson recently presented a poster paper on work towards an advanced ceramic composite to the 4th International Congress on Ceramics (ICC4) in Chicago.

Carlson is part of the Advanced Materials Synthesis Team, which is led by CERL’s Dr. Charles Marsh.  The team is responsible for developing innovative methods to synthesize laboratory demonstrations of advanced engineering materials.  It is part of the ERDC multi-laboratory Advanced Materials Initiative (AMI) being conducted by CERL, Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (GSL), Information Technology Laboratory (ITL), and the Environmental Laboratory (EL) and whose point-of-contact is Dr. Charles Welch (ITL).

AMI’s goal is to develop engineering materials with strength and stiffness properties that have several fold to order-of-magnitude improvements over existing engineering materials.

Carlson’s paper was titled “Spark Plasma Sintering of Silicon Carbide- Carbon Nanotube Composite – Simulations and Experiments.”  Co-authors were Marsh, Dr. Jeff Allen (ITL), Dr. Bryce Devine (ITL), Welch, and Professor Trudy Kriven, University of Illinois.

The paper supports a long-term AMI goal to develop a very lightweight “super” ceramic composite to replace steel and aluminum with an intended weight savings of at least two-thirds.  Given the extensive use of steel and aluminum in transportation and infrastructure, the potential impact of such a super ceramic on Army and Department of Defense logistics and on the U.S. economy are enormous.

Carlson’s paper was especially broad in scope and provided his initial experimental results on sintering silicon carbide-carbon nanotube composite samples, the results from continuum and meso-scale simulations of sintering that were created by Allen, and the results from molecular dynamics simulations of sintering by the team’s Devine.

The ICC4 is a global event designed to foster discussion and planning concerning on issues facing the world-wide ceramic and glass community.