Department of Ceramics and Refractory Materials
Ceramics is regarded as one of the most culturally important materials of mankind. However, although the oldest ceramic found, the Venus of Dolne Vestoniče, was produced approximately 30,000 years ago, the development of ceramic materials is ongoing. The so-called "technical ceramics" can be divided into "refractory materials", "functional ceramics" and "structural ceramics". Ceramic materials can also be found in everyday use as "silicate ceramics", in combination with metals or plastics they also occur in the form of "composite materials".
Since its existence, the further development of technical ceramics has had a decisive influence on technical progress and the improvement of living standards: The availability of electricity in our households was only made possible by insulating electroporcelain, the production and use of acids and alkalis on a large scale by corrosion-resistant stoneware. The production of metals and glasses via melting processes can only be carried out using refractory ceramic materials.
Modern high-performance ceramics, whose category includes functional and structural ceramics, have defined mechanical, thermal, chemical, electronic and biological properties. They are indispensable in energy technology (fuel cells, heat exchangers), electrical engineering (housings, capacitors, microchip carriers, sensors, actuators, varistors, circuit breakers), as bioceramics in medical technology (hip joint prostheses, dental implants, bone substitutes), in the automotive sector (catalyst carriers, diesel soot filters, rocker arm linings, portliners, turbochargers, exhaust valves), production technology (cutting tools, abrasives) and mechanical engineering (plain bearings, piezo actuators).
By combining different materials, the aim is usually to optimize the mechanical properties. This is done in the case of ceramic materials in combination with plastics or metals. Such composite materials aim at a high stiffness, a sufficient high temperature resistance as well as a low specific component weight. Metal-ceramic or ceramic-ceramic fibre composites are of particular interest in the aerospace industry.
At the Institute of Mineral Engineering, the working groups Bioceramics,High Temperature Measurement and Thermodynamics, Mechanical Material Behaviour,Refractory Materials, Additive Manufacturing Processes, Non-Oxide Ceramics and Sol-Gel Coatings conduct research in various fields of ceramic materials. Both fundamental and application-related questions are investigated. We are at the disposal of cooperation partners with our interdisciplinary expertise.