New Method to Manufacture Ultra-High Temperature Ceramics Uses Microwaves

Ultra-high temperature (UHT) ceramics can withstand highly extreme conditions, such as the heat coming out of a rocket as its launching into space. With support from the National Science Foundation, materials scientist Holly Shulman and her team at a company called Ceralink are developing UHT ceramics using a new method that harnesses the power of microwaves. The machines they use to make the UHT ceramics still fire up to high temperatures. But, rather than combining the heat with high pressure to make the material super hard and strong, they use microwave assist technology (MAT) furnaces. It's a process called 'enhanced diffusion.' The goal is to make the industrial manufacture of high quality UHT ceramic parts faster and cheaper.