ETH material scientists have developed a new method of manufacturing ceramics that does not require the starting materials to be fired. Instead, they are compacted under high pressure at room temperature in a significantly more energy-efficient process.
The manufacture of cement, bricks, bathroom tiles and porcelain crockery normally requires a great deal of heat: a kiln is used to fire the ceramic materials at temperatures well in excess of 1,000°C. Now, material scientists from ETH Zurich have developed what seems at first glance to be an astonishingly simple method of manufacture that works at room temperature. The scientists used a calcium carbonate nanopowder as the starting material and instead of firing it, they added a small amount of water and then compacted it.
“The manufacturing process is based on the geological process of rock formation,” explains Florian Bouville, a postdoc in the group of André Studart, Professor of Complex Materials. Sedimentary rock is formed from sediment that is compressed over millions of years through the pressure exerted by overlying deposits. This process turns calcium carbonate sediment into limestone with the help of the surrounding water. As the ETH researchers used calcium carbonate with an extremely fine particle size (nanoparticles) as the starting material, their compacting process took only an hour. “Our work is the first evidence that a piece of ceramic material can be manufactured at room temperature in such a short amount of time and with relatively low pressures,” says ETH professor Studart.
Stronger than concrete
As tests have shown, the new material can withstand about ten times as much force as concrete before it breaks, and is as stiff as stone or concrete. In other words, it is just as hard to deform.
So far, the scientists have produced material samples of about the size of a one-franc piece using a conventional hydraulic press such as those normally used in industry. “The challenge is to generate a sufficiently high pressure for the compacting process. Larger workpieces require a correspondingly greater force,” says Bouville. According to the scientists, ceramic pieces the size of small bathroom tiles should theoretically be feasible.
Energy-efficient and environmentally benign
“For a long time, material scientists have been searching for a way to produce ceramic materials under mild conditions, as the firing process requires a large amount of energy,” says Studart. The new room-temperature method – which experts refer to as cold sintering – is much more energy-efficient and also enables the production of composite materials containing, for example, plastic.
The technique is also of interest with a view to a future CO2-neutral society. Specifically, the carbonate nanoparticles could conceivably be produced using CO2 captured from the atmosphere or from waste gases from thermal power stations. In this scenario, the captured CO2 is allowed to react with a suitable rock in powder form to produce carbonate, which could then be used to manufacture ceramics at room temperature. The climate-damaging CO2 would thus be stored in ceramic products in the long term. These would constitute a CO2 sink and could help thermal power stations to operate on a carbon-neutral basis.
According to the scientists, in the long term, the new approach of cold sintering even has the potential to lead to more environmentally friendly substitutes for cement-based materials. However, great research efforts are needed to reach this goal. Cement production is not only energy-intensive, but it also generates large amounts of CO2 – unlike potential cold-sintered replacement materials.
Learn more: Sustainable ceramics without a kiln
Receive an email update when we add a new SUSTAINABLE CERAMICS article.
The Latest on: Sustainable ceramics
via Google News
The Latest on: Sustainable ceramics
- Find peace of mind and quality design with ceramic tile from Spainon June 26, 2020 at 7:50 am
There are many factors to consider when choosing the quality of building materials. Designing a space with wellbeing in mind starts from the ground up.
- 11 architecture and interior projects by students at Aalto Universityon June 26, 2020 at 2:21 am
A home for an artist, ceramic furniture and a masterplan that condenses all ... culturally and ecologically sustainable built environment. "In the selection of student projects from 2019-2020, there ...
- Metals Ceramics Industrial Materials Market Key Players and Forecast 2022on June 25, 2020 at 3:22 am
Materials can be classified majorly into metals, non-metals, ceramics, & polymers, with other groups forming the rest of the industrial materials. They all have intermediates consisting of partial ...
- ExOne Adds Two New Stainless Steels to Updated Quick Ship Metal 3D Printing Serviceon June 24, 2020 at 8:01 am
Metal production center now offering high-density, precision parts in 316L and 17-4PH for instant quoting and quick delivery ; Single-alloy metals to be 3D printed on the Innovent ...
- Global All Ceramic Crowns Market Expected to Witness a Sustainable Growth over 2025on June 23, 2020 at 11:56 pm
LP INFORMATION recently released a research report on the All Ceramic Crowns market analysis which studies the All Ceramic Crowns s industry coverage current market competitive status and market ...
- Global Honeycomb Ceramics for Automobile Exhaust Treatment Market Expected to Witness a Sustainable Growth over 2025on June 19, 2020 at 2:00 am
LP INFORMATION recently released a research report on the Honeycomb Ceramics for Automobile Exhaust Treatment market analysis and elaborate the industry coverage current market competitive status and ...
- Saint-Gobain Ceramics & Plastics Settles Lawsuit with II-VI Incorporatedon June 15, 2020 at 5:09 pm
Gobain Ceramics & Plastics, Inc. settles large sheet sapphire patent dispute. II-VI Inc. dismisses challenge, agrees to license patents from SG ...
- 10 Sustainable Swaps For An Eco-Friendly Kitchenon June 15, 2020 at 1:36 pm
There are lots of little lifestyle tweaks we can make that will ultimately have a big impact on the environment: like switching to a reusable water bottle or a BYOC (bring-your-own-coffee) mug. While ...
- Ceramic Feedthrough Capacitor Market is slated to grow rapidly in the coming yearson June 14, 2020 at 10:22 pm
Ceramic Feedthrough Capacitor Market competition by top manufacturers as follow: , AVX Corporation, Morgan Advanced Materials, Murata Manufacturing, Presidio Components, KEMET Electronics Corp, Welson ...
via Bing News