12-22 water falls

[Image above] Credit: PxHere

Writing Ceramic Tech Today posts is both a professional and personal pleasure for me. As a staff member of The American Ceramic Society, my prime objective is providing service to Society members and the entire ceramics community. Along with meeting this important driver, CTTs allow me to talk about topics that energize me. It is with these two synergistic rationales that I chose my five favorite posts for 2020.

Why do editors refer my manuscripts to other ACerS journals?

“Have you submitted your research to an ACerS journal, only to have the editor refer it to one of the sister publications? Do not fear—the referral to transfer is actually a partial approval of an author’s work. Learn more about why referrals happen and how they benefit authors.”

My first selection is arguably my most important post of 2020. Like most enterprises these days, journal publishing is as competitive as it is service oriented. Authors want to be read, cited, and published in the best journals. However, the “best” journal is sometimes not obvious.

There is no question that ceramics and glass researchers want to get published in the Journal of the American Ceramic Society. It is the flagship journal of the Society, recognized as one of the best journals in our community.

However, its aims and scopes are specific. Articles must describe substantial advancements to fundamental science of ceramic, glass, and related materials with multifaceted explanations.

Not all manuscripts fit these requirements. Multifaceted applied research, for example, is more in line with the scopes of the International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology (ACT) or the International Journal of Applied Glass Science (IJAGS). In contrast, articles that describe important research but don’t quite reach requirements for novelty or level of advancement fit best for International Journal of Ceramic Engineering & Science (IJCES).

Why do editors refer my manuscripts to other ACerS journals?” explores these topics in greater detail. Furthermore, the article describes the benefits for accepting a referral and transferring your manuscript within the ACerS journal family, including ease of submission and increased likelihood of acceptance.

Addressing the energy harvesting storage gap—ceramic matrix composites contain corrosive materials in thermal energy storage

“Thermal energy storage technologies are one way to store energy generated from renewable sources. But producing materials that can contain the high-temperature and corrosive materials integral to this technology is an ongoing area of research. Two recent ACerS journal articles explore methods of fabricating C/C-SiC CMCs for use as container materials.”

Because taming global climate change requires adoption of renewable energy sources, I am excited by technology that moves us in that direction. The post “Ceramic matrix composites contain corrosive materials in thermal energy storage” reviews efforts to develop enabling technology for containing highly corrosive molten salts, including describing the design, manufacturing, and testing of prototype containers made from C/C-SiC ceramic matrix composites.

Besides the fascinating science itself, the article also is an excellent example of applied science and engineering of ceramic-containing products, and so clearly fits the scope of ACT (the journal in which it is published).

The rest of my favorite posts combine the future of ceramics with the past, and they are interesting on both a global and personal scale.

The future of ceramics, and all materials science for that matter, is expected to rely more and more on modeling and open science. Modeling of properties and processes has been around for many years, but the challenge is being able to span length and time scales so as to design materials that fit performance requirements for specific applications.

The key to modeling, and to bridging the gap, is data. One aspect of open science—open data—has the goal of making experimental and computational data at all levels, from material properties down to raw experimentation, available for researchers to reevaluate and reuse.

In my favorite posts listed below, various types of modeling are on full display and give insight into what the future of materials science may increasingly look like.

From mechanical behaviors to coloring mechanisms, modeling illuminates properties of ancient ceramics

“Modeling offers a way to learn about ancient ceramics without damaging the priceless items. Two recent articles in International Journal of Ceramic Engineering & Science illustrate how modeling provides insights into myriad properties, including mechanical behaviors and coloring mechanisms.”

The CTT post “From mechanical behaviors to coloring mechanisms, modeling illuminates properties of ancient ceramics” discusses articles in which the authors derive and apply models using material properties, both literature and experimental, to explain behavior of historical ceramics. The wisdom and craftsmanship of the bygone years can be used to engineer the future, though much of it has been lost. Modeling explanations are the link from the past to the future.

Modeling teaches old dogs new tricks: Viscosity predictions from dilatometry and DSC

“Determining viscosity of a glass through experiment is a slow and expensive process. In two recent papers published in JACerS, Penn State professor John Mauro and his colleagues show how it can be predicted much easier by using dilatometry and DSC to calculate parameters for a glass viscosity model that was proposed in 2009.”

Viscosity predictions from dilatometry and DSC” describes research that applies first principles to relate seemingly disparate properties to make predictions. Viscosity, thermal expansion, heat capacity, glass transition, and crystallization all arise from similar atomic-level processes. The research shows that relatively simple (and thus low cost) thermal analysis methods can be used to predict viscosity, which is difficult (and expensive) to measure over wide ranges. My extra interest in this research stems from my involvement in thermal analysis throughout my early career.

Will it spall? Phase diagrams, thermal expansion, and barrier coating degradation

“Thermal and environmental barrier coatings are often used to protect turbine blades made from ceramic matrix composites—but these coatings are prone to damage caused by environmental silicate contamination. In three papers published in JACerS, researchers provide extensive insights into the many aspects of damage.”

Finally, the post “Will it spall? Phase diagrams, thermal expansion, and barrier coating degradation” provides clear examples of the generation and use of complex phase diagrams, which are indispensable tools for ceramics research. There are multiple levels of modeling involved in generating phase data as well as using it to predict performance, spalling of environmental/thermal barrier coatings in this example. The series of papers profiled in this CTT have the potential to become a tutorial for early career ceramic scientists. And it doesn’t hurt that ACerS offers a comprehensive and easy to use phase equilibrium diagram database and analysis tools for ceramic materials.