[Image above] The show floor of Ceramics Expo 2018 was busy on opening day. Credit: Smarter Shows
Ceramics Expo 2018 officially kicked off on Tuesday with a discussion and overview of the advanced ceramic and glass industry, challenges for research and manufacturing, and areas for future growth. Director of marketing and communications and ACerS Bulletin editor Eileen De Guire delivered an insightful keynote address centering around big data and how its increased demand is challenging materials.
Data impacts our industry on two fronts, she explains. “Rising demand for data transmission creates rising demand for our industry’s products—but that demand is also pushing the materials to the intrinsic limits of their functionality.”
Because data is driving that demand, De Guire says, we need to not only find new materials, but also make them as well. Smartphones, tablets, cloud computing, data centers, and the Internet of Things are all driving significant advances in data transmission technology, especially as the FCC in the U.S. prepares to launch the 5G network in 2020.
Data is also a disruptor, De Guire explains, as it pushes current materials to their limits. She used the example of optical fiber—where physics limits the amount of light that can be pushed through a fiber before problems begin.
“The bottom line,” De Guire adds, “is that we’re going to need new materials designed for exceptional function, and we are going to need new processes to fabricate them.”
De Guire shared examples of efforts of organizations already addressing some of these challenges, such as the Materials Genome Initiative, a Case Western Reserve University experiment that studies degradation and lifetime performance of photovoltaic systems, and a Lehigh University project where materials and data scientists are developing a “theater for scientific discovery,” where researchers use virtual reality and other tools to interact with different types of data.
De Guire closed her discussion with examples of researchers already experiencing success and breaking barriers—such as additive manufacturing, where manufacturers are making great strides in making and shaping parts. The other breakthrough De Guire cited is a cold sintering process developed at Penn State—which could possibly be a big disruptor once the process details are worked out.
“There is no limit in sight to the amount of data we want to transmit,” she says. “We’re on the edge of a paradigm shift.”
After her discussion, De Guire moderated a panel featuring experts from ceramic and glass manufacturing to discuss the future of materials and the challenges they present.
The Conference at Ceramics Expo covered a wide variety of pertinent topics, such as the materials market and the status of ceramic matrix composites production and application in Track One—and rheology and polymeric additives in additive manufacturing in Track Two.
Back at the expo, manufacturers showed off their latest products and technologies. Dozens of attendees stopped by ACerS booth to register for an Amazon Echo Dot, and we drew a winner at 2 p.m.!
“Official day one” at Ceramics Expo proved to be a success, judging from the crowds at the conference and the expo.
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