ICACC 2024_Young-Wook Kim

[Image above] During a lunch honoring the plenary and award speakers, ACerS past president Sanjay Mathur (2022–2023) presented the Global Ambassador Award to Gunnar Westin and Kwang Ho Kim. Pictured is Engineering Ceramics Division chair Young-Wook Kim congratulating Kwang Ho Kim (seated) on receiving this distinction. Credit: ACerS

Jonathon Foreman contributed to this report.

The 48th International Conference and Expo on Advanced Ceramics and Composites (ICACC 2024) welcomed more than 800 people, including nearly 200 students, from 28 countries to Daytona Beach, Fla., from Jan. 28–Feb. 2, 2024.

ICACC, which is organized by the Engineering Ceramics Division (ECD), provides a platform for people to network with colleagues and exchange findings on recent advances related to ceramic science and technology. This year’s conference included 19 symposia; five focused sessions; and a special focused session on diversity, entrepreneurship, and commercialization.

During the opening plenary session on Monday morning, ECD chair Young-Wook Kim welcomed everyone to the conference and presented the ECD’s Jubilee Global Diversity award and Global Young Investigator award. Student poster awards from 2023 were also announced and presented, along with ECD’s Global Star awards.

Kim then introduced conference chair Jie Zhang, who shared the good news that nearly 900 abstracts were accepted for ICACC 2024. ACerS president Rajendra Bordia also welcomed everyone to the conference and commented on the status of the Society, meetings, and staff at ACerS.

Below are highlights from ICACC 2024.

Award and plenary lectures: Overcoming challenges with shrewd observation and development

Established paradigms are useful in research because they provide a solid starting point for designing new experiments. Sometimes, though, taking a closer look at these accepted norms leads to new observations and insights that allow researchers to overcome long-standing challenges. The award and plenary lectures at ICACC 2024 demonstrated the benefits of not always taking common knowledge for granted.

Ghatu Subhash, Newton C. Ebaugh Professor at the University of Florida, focused the Mueller Award lecture on how better properties do not always yield better performance. For example, in lightweight ceramic armor, the materials are expected to experience shock loading, meaning deformations will occur on very short time frames. Materials that resist deformation too well will fail under shock loading, which degrades the armor’s performance. So, materials that can deform on very short time frames are needed.

Subhash discussed how he used peak shifts in Raman spectroscopy under high pressures to simulate the effects of shockwaves on the nanosecond scale. Results for many materials, including boron carbide, silicon carbide, sapphire and spinel, were compared with molecular dynamics simulations.

As ICACC 2024 took place in coastal Florida, Subhash used the local example of a Spanish fortress in St. Augustine to demonstrate how shock loading deformation occurs. The fortress was made of crushed coquina shells and withstood bombardments due to the motion of particles in the shell, much like the particle motions in modern ceramic armor.

Ghatu Subhash discussed his work on the mechanisms of material deformation during the Mueller Award lecture. Credit: ACerS

Kiyoshi Shimamura, group leader in the Optical Single Crystals Group at National Institute for Materials Science in Japan, focused the Bridge Building Award lecture on the use of single crystals in electro-optical applications. Shimamura noted that the potential of single crystals was underappreciated at first, but these materials are now commonplace in various applications due to the combination of high-performance and simplicity of manufacture.

Shimamura discussed early work in single crystals, such as the use of single crystals with high Curie temperatures as pressure sensors in internal combustion engines and the use of gallium oxide for high power LEDs. He then described more recent developments for advanced technology applications, such as neutron scintillators for detection of nuclear materials. The single crystals of cerium-doped lithium yttrium borates used for this application outperform current materials and have high sensitivity (photons per neutron).

Shimamura ended by sharing some of his research on single crystals. For example, his crushed single-crystal materials for use in high-intensity white-light LEDs show reduced energy absorption, which leads to reduced temperatures and therefore greater longevity.

Elżbieta Pamuła, professor at AGH University of Science and Technology, gave the first plenary lecture on multifunctional biomaterials for bone tissue regeneration and treatment. She explained that many current treatments have low bioavailability, which means high doses are required and thus are often accompanied by side effects. So, she developed a coated silicate framework that encases active cells. The technology dramatically reduced the required dose amount but retained consistent delivery over time. Her group is now exploring 3D printing to build up the ceramic–polymer composite structures.

Judith Jeevarajan, vice president and executive director of the Electrochemical Safety Research Institute at UL Research Institutes, gave the second plenary lecture on ways to mitigate thermal runaway propagation between lithium-ion battery cells. Researchers often work to minimize the causes of thermal runaway within cells, but preventing the transfer of heat to other cells is also important to ensure safety.

Jeevarajan and her colleagues tested the containers and materials that separate individual cells in modern battery packs. Separator technologies ranged from mica and ceramicized papers to phase transition and materials and aerogels.

Many of the technologies offered no protection and resulted in thermal runaway. Some helped by delaying the thermal runaway, which could be useful when combined with other mitigation technologies such as automated fire extinguishers. Ultimately, the best results came from using a combination of ceramic separators and thermal control gel, which resulted in only a few cells getting burnt.

Short course provides a deeper look at the mechanical properties of ceramics and glass

In conjunction with ICACC 2024, ACerS held a two-day short course taught by George Quinn on the mechanical properties of ceramics and glass.

Quinn is a guest researcher at the National Institute for Standards and Technology. As a world authority on standardization, mechanical testing, materials science, and fractography, he is frequently consulted on failure analysis problems.

Twenty-two people attended the short course, of which half traveled to Daytona specifically for the course. They learned about the fundamental concepts and testing methods for understanding ceramic and glass mechanical properties, which served as a complement to the research discussed in the conference symposia and focused sessions.

George Quinn led the “Mechanical Properties of Ceramics and Glass 2024” short course during ICACC 2024. Credit: ACerS

Student highlights from ICACC 2024

In typical fashion, ICACC 2024 offered several events designed specifically to enhance the conference experience for students.

First, IGNITE MSE saw its successful return with programming that took place before and during the conference. This special student professional development event, which is organized by the Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation, initially launched alongside ACerS Annual Meeting at MS&T23.

At ICACC 2024, the IGNITE MSE programming consisted of three guest speakers on topics of professional development, several networking games, a luncheon with industry members, and a poster session where students could discuss the broader impacts of science in their research and other scholarly activities.

Students get to know each other during the IGNITE MSE networking games. Credit: ACerS

On Monday, Wiley hosted a journal writing workshop for young researchers. Ricardo Castro, editor-in-chief of ACerS’ open-access journal International Journal of Ceramic Engineering & Science, shared tips on how to get published during the event.

A student poster session, held within the vendor exposition hall on both Tuesday and Wednesday, led to stimulating scientific discussions that extended well into the evening. The annual shot glass drop competition hosted by ACerS President’s Council of Student Advisors also took place within this space. The competition challenges students to construct protective cages for shot glasses out of pipe cleaners, and this year Marwan Ben Miled from the University of Limoges and Manon Faral from the University of Montreal tied for first place.

Marwan Ben Miled (left) and Manon Faral (right), the winners of the ICACC 2024 shot glass competition. Credit: ACerS

View more images from the conference on ACerS Flickr page. The 49th ICACC will take place Jan. 26–31, 2025, in Daytona Beach, Fla. See you next year!