Technical Ceramics and Ceramic Composites
Dedicated to Research, Development And Innovation
Technical Ceramics and Ceramic Composites Manufacturing Group is a part of the Institute of Materials Processing (IMP), located on the Michigan Technological University campus in Houghton, Michigan.
The Group's aim is to provide industrial clients with the full breadth of technical expertise in technical ceramics and ceramic composites needed to enhance and expand their business, to assist government agencies and industrial associates in accomplishing their charters, and to participate in the University's academic programs.
The Group is dedicated to developing practical and innovative ceramics composites technologies that are economically viable and environmentally sound. It seeks opportunities in technology commercialization that fill needs in the market place.
The Group has submitted several patent applications on material compositions, methods, processes and equipment. Since the inception, the Group has performed over 50 projects. These projects have been sponsored by industrial firms as well as federal and state agencies.
The Group conducts research and development in a multidisciplinary mode with other groups in the IMP and MTU academic departments. Besides having highly qualified full-time professionals, both undergraduate and graduate level engineers and scientists participate in research activities. Where additional expertise is required, consultants, engineering firms and other subcontractors are used to supplement the group's effort.
When necessary, the group can enter into confidential agreements with research sponsors and can undertake both proprietary and classified work. Cooperative development programs with industrial partners and government agencies are strongly encouraged.
Chemical synthesis of technical ceramics, bio-ceramics, nanometer ceramic and ceramic composites
Processing, fabrication, and consolidation of technical ceramics, bio-ceramics, nanometer ceramics and ceramic composites
- Near net-shape fabrication
- High pressure and high temperature forming
- Microwave processing of ceramics
- Surface coating
- Joining both similar and dissimilar materials
- Materials evaluation
- Prototype ceramic manufacturing
- Technology commercialization
The Technical Ceramics and Ceramic Composites Manufacturing Group is staffed with multidisciplinary, highly technical, professional researchers and is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that include (key equipment):
- Mobile powder spray drying unit
- Size reduction equipment, several types available
- Air classifier
- Computer controlled torque rheometer
- Twin screw kneader extruder
- 25 ton screw injection molder
- 35 ton plunger injection molder
- 3-KW microwave system
- Several air furnaces
- Hot press
- Over-pressure nitriding and sintering furnace
- 2000°C mini HIP unit
- Triple length controlled atmosphere glove box
- Tape casting machine
- Fiber-spinning equipment
- CVD-hot filament, microwave and radio frequency
- Chemical analysis- AA, ICP, FTIR, UV, CHN, S, MS and XRF
- Powder characterization- BET, Pycnometer, Zeta and XRD
- Microscopy- SEM, TEM, EDX, Probe and Image Analysis
- Size analysis- Microtrac, Sedigraph and Nano-coulter Counter
- Rheological characterization- Rheometer
- Surface analysis- Raman and Auger
- Thermal analysis- DTA, DSC and TMA
- Mechanical testing
Spray Dryer for Materials Processing
Advanced materials processing utilizes Spray drying to produce powders directly from pumpable feeds. Spray drying involves the atomization of feed materials to a spray of droplets which are contacted with hot air in a drying chamber. Sprays are produced by an atomizer. Evaporation of moisture from the droplets and formation of dried particles proceeds under controlled temperature and air flow conditions in a continuous operation. Powder properties such as moisture content, particle size, bulk density can be specified. The Niro Spray Dryer at IMP has three modes of contact, co-current, counter-current and mixed flow. The sprays are produced by a rotary (wheel) atomizer or nozzle atomizer.