Create deformable materials: exploding, crying ceramics open up new ways to improve electronics and medical equipment | Science Times

2021-11-18 10:27:26 By : Ms. Heidi Wong

Scientists at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities collaborated with researchers at Keele University in Germany to create deformable ceramic materials to improve medical equipment and electronic products. They found that exploding and crying ceramics could open the way for their goals.

They described all their findings in a study titled "Exploding and Weeping Ceramics" published in the journal Nature.

Ceramics are often used to make coffee cups, plates and other kitchen utensils. But they can easily break into pieces when dropped because they are so brittle that they cannot withstand even the slightest deformation.

On the other hand, reports that ceramics are also used in electronic products and can sometimes be semiconducting, ferroelectric, superconducting or insulating, depending on their composition. More importantly, they are non-corrosive and can manufacture a variety of products, such as optical fibers, spark plugs, space shuttle tiles, chemical sensors and medical equipment.

In addition, the other end of the material range is shape memory alloy, which is known as one of the most replasticable materials. Due to its huge deformability, they have manufactured excellent medical stents, which are the backbone of the twin-city area and the German medical device industry.

Their deformation behavior originates from the solid-solid phase transition. According to Science Direct, this transition is often observed in one-component systems and only occurs in the solid phase, without changing the temperature or pressure into the liquid phase.

Also read: "Intuitive" technology mixes two metals to form nanocrystals

According to a report from, the researchers said that it is not easy to create a reversible shape memory ceramic because they tried several formulations and finally discovered a new metal shape memory material. They try to fine-tune the distance between the atoms to bring the two phases together.

However, some samples exploded during the phase transition rather than increasing the deformability. On the other hand, some specimens also fell apart and turned into a pile of powder. This phenomenon is called "crying" by scientists.

New research by @Nature from #UMN and @kieluni shows that exploding and crying ceramics provide a way to deform materials that can improve medical devices and electronics. @UMNresearch Funder: @NSF @DeptofDefense @USNavyResearch—School of Science and Engineering (@UMNCSE) November 17, 2021

New research by @Nature from #UMN and @kieluni shows that exploding and crying ceramics provide a way to deform materials that can improve medical devices and electronics. @UMNresearch Funding: @NSF @DeptofDefense @USNavyResearch

In addition, the researchers observed a reversible transformation, which can easily switch back and forth between the two phases, exhibiting the characteristics of shape memory materials. They pointed out that the mathematical conditions behind the reversible transformation can pave the way for shape memory ceramics.

Research co-author Richard James said that the shape memory ceramic they discovered is a new type of functional material that can play a role in high temperature or corrosive environments. However, he pointed out that he is very excited about the prospect of using new ferroelectric ceramics that can be used to generate electricity through small temperature differences.

Eckhard Quandt, a co-author of the study, added that their experiments showed that ceramics are incompatible and can explode or decay. The theory developed in this study shows a way to obtain the required compatible shape memory ceramics.

Related article: "Goldilocks" superconductor is one step closer to the new cerium superhydride

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