Hafnium and zirconium diboride composites for leading edges of hypersonic vehicles

By Eileen De Guire / August 12, 2011

Artist’s rendition of DARPA’s Falcon HTV-2 hypersonic aircraft. Credit: DARPA.   It’s not often that the latest issue of the Journal of the American Ceramic Society to hit the newsstands ties in with current events, but the August issue does. Yesterday DARPA conducted its second test flight of a hypersonic vehicle and, unfortunately, lost communication…

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Improving MgO-containing castable refractories without excessive expansion

By Eileen De Guire / August 5, 2011

Refractory castables paddle mixer. Credit: Refractory and Applications Blog. Much of the research we report on can be compared to thoroughbred racehorses: it’s elegant, confident, stunning and promising. Now and then, though, it’s good (and maybe comforting) to take the time to learn about the research activities of the stalwart workhorses of the ceramics industry.…

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Ceramics and glass business news of the week

By / August 1, 2011

Here is what we are hearing: Unifrax announces three more acquisitions Unifrax, the Niagara Falls, NY based manufacturer of ceramic fiber insulation products, announced today that it had acquired three leading North American vacuum forming businesses: Refractory Specialties Incorporated, Specialty Ceramics Incorporated and VacuForm Incorporated. The three businesses specialize in the development, manufacture and sale…

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Ceramics and glass business news of the week

By / July 27, 2011

Here is what we are hearing: NexTech Materials receives ISO 9001:2008 certification NexTech has been awarded the International Organization for Standardization 9001:2008 certification for its Quality Management System.  Recognizing the quality needs of its clients, NexTech has voluntarily registered with ISO to provide independent assessment of our quality processes. Corning announces expansion of clean air…

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New UK ceramic armor being tested that may cut weight 15-30%

By / June 28, 2011

Hywel Jones with plate made of lightweight ceramic composition. Credit: Richard Hanson. From the United Kingdom comes a story about what is being described as a new, lighter-weight body armor material composed of advanced ceramic materials. Although prototypes made from the material are still being subjected to full ballistic trials by the nation’s Ministry of…

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Beasley biography details quest for space shuttle’s thermal protection system

By / June 21, 2011

If mechanical systems and the weather cooperate, July 8 will bring the 135rd and final mission of the American Space Shuttle program (STS-135). Coincidentally, I recently received a charming biography of the late Robert M. Beasley, the man who led the team that developed the shuttles’ high-temperature reusable surface insulation tiles. I think for those…

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Freedonia: Demand for refractories to rise over 5% annually through 2014

By / March 31, 2011

Credit: Allentown Shotcrete Technology. The Freedonia Group, a market research firm, says that the market for refractory products generally will enjoy strong, steady growth over the next three years, especially in the Asia region and particularly in regard to China. A new study available from Freedonia says demand will grow on average 5.3 percent each…

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Refractories here and there, West and East

By / March 23, 2011

Credit: Capital Refractories. I am currently in Missouri at the St. Louis Section/Refractory Ceramics Division 47th Annual Symposium that runs through March 24, 2011. The organizers, who include people such as Mary Reidmeyer (Missouri S&T), James Hemrick (Oak Ridge National Lab), Dave Tucker (CE Minerals) and Ben Markel (Resco Products), put together a stellar schedule that includes presentations…

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U.K.’s Institute of Refractories Engineers to turn 50

By / March 7, 2011

While still a youngster by ACerS’ standards, the U.K.-based Institute for Refractories Engineers will mark its fifth decade of existence in November 2011. The IRE was launched in Dudley, England, in 1961. At the time, this West Midlands locale was a hub of the coal, limestone, iron, steel and glass industries, so of roots of…

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Competition announced for refractories-based Gustav Eirich Awards

By / January 18, 2011

Two Germany entities, the Maschinenfabrik Gustav Eirich Company of Hardheim and the European Center for Refractories (ECRef) of Hohr-Grenzhausen have announced the opening of a competition for the Gustav Eirich Award. The award is designed to promote the excellence of young academics and support innovative ideas in the refractory industry. The goal of the award…

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