Nanoceramics: Issues and Opportunities


  • Omer Van der Biest

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, Kasteelpark Arenberg 44, Leuven University, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
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The goal of this study is to review developments in nanoceramics as discussed during presentations on the subject during the International Ceramic Congress (ICC4) held in Chicago on July 2012. As nanotechnology is such a broad subject affecting many industrial sectors, some presentations in other sessions were included as well. The study has been organized according to the dimensions of the nanoscale material starting with nanoscale entities or particulates followed by nanothin films and finally bulk nanoceramics where the nanoscale character lies in the structure. Developments on hybrid nanocomposites containing at least one ceramic compound were often included in the presentations and are discussed in a separate section. The promise of nanotechnology is also to discover materials with totally new properties or combinations of properties. One such example presented in depth at the conference is presented. The study concludes with a section on issues and opportunities. In general, it can be said that the very large investments that were made more than a decade ago into nanotechnology start to pay off dividends. Products are appearing on the market and can have a substantial impact there. Other commercial applications are on the horizon. Because of the wide scope of the technology, there are still plenty of opportunities for research and development. A particular issue that was mentioned by a number of speakers is that of upscaling, which can be understood literally as interfacing the nanostructure with the micro-, meso-, and macroworld. However, often one means the implementation on the factory floor of processes that have been developed within the laboratory.