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Ceramics Group

Understanding how to enhance and control the mechanisms which lead to optimal microstructure of ceramics

The Ceramics Group’s research focuses on the processing and characterisation of ceramic and ceramic composite materials for a range of functional and structural applications.

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About our research

We carry out experiments to understand how to enhance and control the mechanisms which lead to the optimal microstructure of the material, such that the processing can be optimised and made as efficient as possible. This includes routes to reduce energy consumption and also ways in which ceramics can be processed simultaneously with other material types to reduce the number of steps involved in manufacturing final devices or products.

We are particularly interested in the challenges of processing material structures with graded and spatially varying compositions, which include both metamaterials and devices such as solid-state batteries. In support of this manufacturing research activity, we have a particular interest in the measurement of local properties with spatial resolution including residual stress and compositional variations.

Applications for our materials are wide-ranging, and recent projects have included materials for acoustic damping, solid-state batteries, superconducting magnets, ceramic armour materials, metamaterials for electromagnetic devices, wear surfaces, all-ceramic joints, and biomaterial bone replacement scaffolds. We are keen to work collaboratively on any application where the processing of ceramic materials is a key challenge.

Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group

The Ceramics Group at WMG is a member of the Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group, an alliance of the ceramics industry and universities working together to promote and develop the Midlands’ strength in both traditional and advanced ceramics. This includes working to influence governmental policy through speaking at meetings of the Ceramics All Party Parliamentary Group and contributing to the development of new skills training mechanisms suited to the ceramics and materials industries.

Focus areas

Explore our focus areas below as we strive to achieve the optimal microstructure of ceramics.

High-temperature ceramic sintering

Expertise in sintering oxide and non-oxide ceramics to high density including use of controlled atmospheres and optimised additives. In situ monitoring of sintering by thermal imaging and in situ probes.

Flash sintering

Flash sintering is the process of densifying ceramics at lower furnace temperatures than conventionally required by applying electric current during heating. Sintering can then occur very rapidly. We have expertise in flash sintering at DC and AC primarily of oxide materials and battery electrolytes.

Cold sintering

Using a supersaturated liquid transient, cold sintering enables densification of ceramic at temperatures of 100-300 deg.C with applied uniaxial pressure. This is very attractive for processing ceramics in a structure with other materials with lower processing temperatures. We have experience in cold-sintering battery electrolyte materials.

Polymer-ceramic composite processing

Polymer-ceramic composites are useful where the functional properties of ceramics are needed but there is no need for durability at high temperatures or other extreme conditions. The group has experience in producing ceramic-polymer composite materials using twin-screw extrusion and electrospinning for functional applications in acoustics and electromagnetic shielding.

Graded and other structured ceramic and composite processing

Structuring ceramic and ceramic-containing materials can be extremely difficult due to varying thermal expansion inducing residual stresses on cooling. We developed methods for all-ceramic graded structures with both through-thickness and radial grading in one heat treatment. Such structures have many applications including joints for high-temperature environments and metamaterial devices.

Characterisation of ceramics and related materials

We have experience in mechanical, thermal, electrical, magnetic, microwave electromagnetic, microstructural, and compositional characterisation of materials. Associated sample preparation facilities are also available. Key expertise includes simultaneous SEM/FIB/SIMS acquisition, stress mapping in ceramics using Raman microspectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction.

Our people
World class academics and outstanding engineers

Our collaborative R&D and skills development is led by world class academics and outstanding engineers to help bridge the gap between academia and industry.

Our projects

Explore our diverse Ceramics project portfolio, ranging from flash sintering of composite ceramic materials and structures, through to investigating sustainability in the manufacturing process.

Recent publications

Contact us

Interested in collaborating with our research teams? Get in touch below to explore how we can help solve some of your biggest challenges.