Iran isn’t necessarily known for being a leader in ceramic and related material science, but some recent announcements suggest they shouldn’t be ignored either. For example, one group has successfully produced a sulfonic acid nano-catalyst with the ability to be recycled more than 20 times. They envision this material to be a replacement in industrial settings for normal sulfonic acid that, although potent, is usually passed over because of its strong corrosive effects on metal. Suflonic acid can be recycle, but it that requires several additional neutralizing steps. This group’s sulfonic acid nano-catalyst is based on mesoporous nano-silica materials (MCM-41). It, too, potent yet remains intact without any need for neutralizing steps and can be recycled after being used in 20 activities. Another group has been working on bioceramics, in particular on engineering tissue repairs using nanoceramic coating to strengthen scaffolds that help patients recover from massive tissue-loss injuries. The group is led by Roohani Isfahani who pioneered in applying the material on scaffolds. He said, “From 2004 onwards, global researches have been proceeding towards strengthening porous scaffolding materials. None has been carried out on nanostructure coating, though.” Isfahani’s group dips scaffolds into bioactive ceramic glass. Iffahani says the compressive strength of the scaffolds would then jump from 2.0 MPa to 5.1 MPa with up to 700 micron size pores.
A third group has developed nano-crystal coated titanium that may have applications in everything from Formula 1 racecars to the petrochemical industry to the aerospace industry. “Various factors influencing surface hardening processes are assessed in order to achieve optimal resistance to corrosion and erosion while producing these unique borided coatings,” the team’s lead researcher Mahmoud Aliof Khazraei told Iranian Nanotechnology Initiative. The Iranian Nanotechnology Initiative has an interesting website worth exploring for more information about ceramic research in the nation, and the INI, itself, is was established in 2003 and has been folded into a ten-year national plan to establish itself as a major player in nanotech issues.