ICACC 2023_poster session

[Image above] The poster session during ICACC 2023 gave people a chance to dig deep into the science. Credit: ACerS

Jonathon Foreman contributed to this report.

Similar to the Electronic Materials and Applications Conference, the 47th International Conference on Applied Ceramics and Composites finally took place in person again for the first time since 2020.

This year’s ICACC, which is organized by the Engineering Ceramics Division, took place in Daytona Beach, Fla., Jan. 22–27, 2023. After two years of virtual conferences, people were delighted to see one another again and get back to the business of sharing ideas, greeting colleagues, making new friends, and talking about ceramic engineering and science.

ECD chair Balaya Palani welcomed everyone to the conference during Monday’s plenary session and presented the ECD’s Jubilee Global Diversity award and Global Young Investigator award. Student poster awards from 2022 were announced and presented, along with ECD’s Global Star awards.

Palani then introduced conference chair Young-Wook Kim, who shared the good news that more than 874 abstracts from 47 countries were accepted, which is close to pre-pandemic levels. The conference included a special symposium in honor of Tatsuki Ohji (ACerS Distinguished Life Member, Fellow, and past president), 19 symposia, and four focused sessions. ACerS president Sanjay Mathur also welcomed everyone to the conference and commented on the status of the Society, meetings, and staff as ACerS enters a period of post-pandemic recovery.

President Sanjay Mathur (left) and ECD chair Balaya Palani (right) recognized conference chair Young-Wook Kim (middle) during the plenary session. Credit: ACerS

With formalities concluded, four excellent lectures—the Mueller Award, Bridge Building Award, and two invited lectures—occupied the rest of Monday morning. Brief summaries of the award and plenary talks are below.

ICACC 2023 was a rich experience, with much more than technical sessions to offer. The expo and poster session on Tuesday and Wednesday provided an opportunity for attendees to talk with vendors about the latest products and services. The concurrent student poster session extended stimulating scientific discussions well into the evening.

Chatting with vendors at the Expo. Credit: ACerS

ACerS President’s Council of Student Advisors held its annual shot glass drop competition on Tuesday evening. Student groups used pipe cleaners to construct protective cages for shot glasses provided by—who else?—SCHOTT. The University of North Dakota “Fighting Sioux” team prevailed in a field of 11 teams with a winning drop from a height of 145 inches (about 12 feet).

From left: Shawn Ruggiero, Matt Malusky, Kaycee Lambrecht, and Broc Waldhausen from the University of North Dakota handily won the PCSA Shot Glass Contest with a drop that survived 145 inches. Credit: ACerS
The thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat at the shot glass contest. Credit: ACerS

Students and young professionals availed themselves of other valuable opportunities, including a journal publishing workshop focused on effective abstract writing. About 40 students attended a lunch-and-learn career panel and gained wisdom from (slightly) older colleagues who had already navigated the student to professional transition.

Eeshani Godbole from GE Research (right) works with a student during the journal publishing workshop breakout session. Surojit Gupta from the University of North Dakota led the Sunday afternoon workshop. Credit: ACerS
Emmanuel Maillet of GE Research (left) field questions from students at the career lunch-and-learn. Credit: ACerS

The strongly international character of the conference carried over to the Student and Young Professional Networking Mixer cosponsored by the ACerS Young Professionals Network and the ECerS Young Ceramists Network, which attracted a record attendance of about 150 people.

The ACerS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Subcommittee, chaired by Theresa Davey of Tohoku University, Japan, held a Diversity in Ceramics lunch. Davey created a set of eight realistic scenarios that could arise in the workplace, from gender, racial, and cultural situations to more subtle challenges such as language, religious practices, health issues, and family care situations. The consensus solution was to cultivate empathy for others.

The 48th ICACC will be Jan. 28–Feb. 2, 2024, in Daytona Beach, Fla. View images from the conference on ACerS Flickr page. Read below for descriptions of the award presentations, plenary lectures, and the Tatsuki Ohji Honorary Symposium.

See you next year!

Award presentations

Jonathan Salem from NASA Glenn gave the Mueller Award lecture on “Testing and design of ceramic structural materials and components at NASA.”

NASA has used ceramic materials for decades, from fused silica windows in Skylab to space shuttle tiles and more. The component sizes range from millimeters to meters with a variety of shapes.

Salem’s presentation focused on how NASA works to understand fracture mechanics and strength of ceramic materials and the various methods used to design for safe operations.

Design for failure approaches fall into two broad categories: strength-based methods and fracture mechanics. Strength-based methods, such as Margin of Safety, often use Weibull statistics, which assume that strength is scalable to sample size. Another strength-based approach, the Weakest Link method, assumes populations of critical defects and takes into account time, shape, and size effects.

NASA also explores temperature and time effects by using thermally shocked samples, which is very useful for lifetime predictions.

Salem concluded by saying that the types of cracks are very important and that fractography is a key technique for fracture prediction.

Paolo Colombo from the University of Padua presented the Bridge Building Award lecture on “Additive manufacturing of ceramics from liquid feedstocks.”

Columbo focused on the processing aspects of additive manufacturing. Of the seven common types of additive manufacturing used with ceramics, most use powder feedstocks suspended in organic liquids. High-solid-content suspensions are needed to attain components that are 60% ceramics by mass, but the resulting suspensions have high viscosity and are difficult to stabilize, among other challenges. Liquid feedstocks for ceramics include preceramic polymers, sol-gel solutions, and geopolymer slurries.

Columbo described various methods that can use liquid feedstocks, along with various performance benefits and challenges. Two were described in depth. Xolography uses two different lasers to print the structure quickly via holographic methods. The second method combines photopolymerization with direct ink writing to solidify the low viscosity inks as soon as they exit the nozzle.

While the presentation focused on preceramic polymers as the feedstock, Colombo also described which methods were applicable to the other liquid ceramic precursor forms.

Plenary lectures

Rita Baranwal, chief technology officer of Westinghouse Electric, gave the first plenary lecture on “Westinghouse fuel innovation leveraging advanced ceramics,” describing recent advances in the field of nuclear fission energy generation.

This lecture discussed materials for accident tolerant fuel rods, wireless sensors for in-situ fuel monitoring, and their microreactor designed for military and space applications.

The new fuel uses silicon carbide cladding that can tolerate temperatures up to 1,200°C with minimum interaction with the uranium fuel. The next-generation fuel will include uranium nitride, which has higher thermal conductivity and higher density than uranium oxide.

They are working on testing and scaling up of production of the fuel, while the embedded wireless sensors are being tested at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The microreactor has a unique heat pipe design that removes most of the moving parts of the reactor and contains multiple ceramic components.

Huisuk Yun, Korea Institute of Materials Science, department head of advanced biomaterials research, and professor of materials science at the University of Science & Technology, gave the second plenary on “New challenges for ceramic additive manufacturing.”

Yun discussed two unique technologies developed by her research group: a multiceramic AM technology based on stereolithography, including a unique AM system, and a ceramic AM process without sintering, based on material extrusion.

Their group collaborates with many industries, including auto parts suppliers, heavy industries, and biomedicine. The latter industry is interesting because their technology works well with bioinks (e.g., phosphates and bioactive glass), which are incorporated with self-setting cements.

Tatsuki Ohji Honorary Symposium

A special symposium in honor of Tatsuki Ohji, ACerS Distinguished Life Member, Fellow, and past president, spanned the entire conference. Ohji is visiting research scientist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan, and visiting professor at Yokohama National University and Nagoya Institute of Technology, also in Japan.

Mritunjay Singh started the special symposium with an overview of Ohji’s education, career history, and service to ACerS and the ceramics community. He mentioned many honorifics, awards, and prizes that Ohji has received.

Tatsuki Ohji (left) accepts a gift from Mrityunjay Singh during the symposium in Ohji’s honor. Credit: AIST

The symposium, “Emergent materials and sustainable manufacturing technologies in a global landscape: International symposium in honor of Dr. Tatsuki Ohji,” was a fitting testimony to the impact and reach of Ohji’s research. Research and thought leaders from around the world participated, and the work presented was innovative and forward-looking. A few highlights are cited below.

  • Manabu Fukushima, from AIST, discussed the use of freeze drying to control porosity in materials, along with the favorable properties that result and the applications that benefit from the technology that Ohji’s group pioneered. Example applications include thermal insulating materials, which will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 320,000 tons by 2030, and lead-free NKN materials with radially aligned structures, prepared with piezoelectric properties exceeding those of PZT materials.
  • Stuart Hampshire from University of Limerick, Ireland, also discussed physical properties of porous materials.  His key takeaway is that porosity is not always detrimental to mechanical properties.
  • Christopher Schuh from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was inspired by Ohji’s observation that the stresses arising from volume changes are accommodated by porosity. He applied that concept to designing high-temperature shape-memory-doped zirconias. His group used phase diagrams and thermodynamic modeling to explore the effects of dopants on the tetragonal-to-monoclinic transition temperature and then used data science to create empirical models for lattice parameter changes during the transition. They found compositions that could accommodate the lattice changes during the transition without substantial stress in the transitional zone. Schuh demonstrated that without these stressors, the materials could be cycled through the transition many times.
  • Young-Wook Kim, University of Seoul, Korea, and editor-in-chief of International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology, discussed his group’s research optimizing the specific stiffness of silicon carbide composites. Using phenolic materials provided even distribution of the carbon and led to sintered densities nearly 100% of theoretical values.  The optimized material had higher specific stiffness than pure silicon carbide along with reduced thermal conductivity.