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[Image above] Credit: ACerS

Fate was on the side of the 44th International Conference on Advanced Ceramics and Composites organizers this year. The meeting, held in Daytona Beach, Fla., came off without a hitch thanks to good weather on the eastern seaboard, a funded United States government, and taking place before the coronavirus impacted international travel.

ICACC, organized by the ACerS Engineering Ceramics Division, welcomed 1,003 attendees, including 299 students, from 37 countries with about 50% coming from outside the United States. Organizer Valerie Wiesner, a research materials engineer with NASA Langley Research Center, says, “We had great engagement from the ceramics community to put together a high-quality program. We added an 18th symposium on ultra-high temperature ceramics and held the 4th Pacific Rim Engineering Ceramics Summit. An inaugural ‘Women in Ceramics Lunch’ was also held, bringing together about 45 women for lunch and discussion with a panel of five distinguished women from our field and was well received.”

ACerS past president Sylvia Johnson, left, presents ICACC organizer Valerie Wiesner with an ACerS Global Ambassador award. Credit: ACerS

The conference packed a lot of value into the week. Some technical program highlights included the traditional opening plenary session, 18 symposia (including the new symposium on ultrahigh temperature ceramics), five focus sessions, the 9th Global Young Investigators Forum, and two poster sessions.

What’s a great thing to do between sessions? Network, of course! Credit: ACerS

Besides the technical program, Engineering Ceramics Division held its annual business meetings; new members were welcomed at a special reception, as were young professionals at their own reception; Wiley sponsored a skills-building seminar presented by ACerS journal editors for young journal authors on communicating the societal impact of scientific research; and students participated in engineering shot glass and SIFT competitions.

The two-night exhibition featured 30 exhibitors and the opportunity for conference attendees to shop for new instruments, equipment, and services. The two poster sessions also took place during the exhibition, giving everyone a reason to cross the street and enjoy some heavy hors d’oeuvres and good conversation.

Credit: ACerS

Behind the scenes at the expo, students participated in competitions to test their materials mettle. The Student and Industry Failure Trials (SIFT) competition required students to act as failure analysis sleuths. Using actual components provided by industry participants, student teams determined the materials and the cause of failure. The winning team members from Old Dominion University in Virginia were Mahesh Banda, Rohan Parai, and Sashanka Akurati.

Winners of the 2020 SIFT competition. Credit: ACerS

The long-running shot glass competition put student engineering design skills to the test. Student teams created cages with only pipe cleaners to protect shot glasses as they were dropped from increasing heights. The winning team from the University of North Dakota, which included Chandler Borillo, Maharshi Dey, Dustin Gerard, and Annie Miles, succeeded with a cage and glass that survived a drop from 31 ft.

Winners of the 2020 Shot Glass competition. Credit: Victoria Christensen

Additionally, before ICACC, students participated in the annual Winter Workshop hosted by the Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation, January 24–28. The workshop provided a combination of technical and professional development sessions, networking opportunities, and included a tour of the Kennedy Space Center.

Visit ACerS Flickr page to see images of all the action from the conference. And, be sure to mark your calendar for the 45th ICACC next Jan. 24–29, 2021. The conference will be a success regardless of weather and other factors.

Update 02/10/2020 – Quote from organizer Valerie Wiesner added