[Image above] Participants in the Young Investigator Forum at HTCMC-GFMAT, Toronto, Canada. Credit: ACerS
Student report by Tyler Colling, Georgia Institute of Technology
When I was invited by Dr. Surojit Gupta to come give a presentation at The American Ceramic Society’s HTCMC9, GFMAT 2016 conference, I was unsure about attending because my research did not seem to blend well with the topics. I did not realize at the time that this particular society and group of people encompass such a broad range of research.
I am a first year Ph.D. student studying materials science and engineering at Georgia Tech. I research electronic nanomaterials in Dr. Jud Ready’s Nanomaterials group, particularly carbon nanotube-based supercapacitors (hopefully that clears up the reasoning for my initial skepticism). However, I am extremely glad that I attended this conference.
The conference could not have been organized better, especially as a young professional trying to make a name for myself.
There was a young professional’s forum, which had a particularly diverse group of speakers with topics ranging from MAX phase materials, to porous ceramics, to nanoparticle alloys. The wide range of topics demonstrated to me just how connected science is and how my research fits in with both the advanced materials as well as the ceramics side of the conference. I was able to present my work in this forum and also listen to the scientific journeys by other early-career scientists.
Similar to the young professional’s forum, the other symposia consisted of a variety of topics ranging from porous ceramics, to carbon nanotubes, to liquid crystal displays.
One such intriguing talk was given by Dr. Isu of LIXIL Corp. His talk, “Energy-Saving Housing Materials using Nano Porous Ceramics Structure,” described a new porous ceramic insulation that dramatically reduced radiative and conductive heat transfer for homes through microstructure design and the addition of carbon.
Dr. Song (Northwestern Polytechnical University, China) presented his research on improving the mechanical properties of carbon/carbon composites by depositing a thin layer of SiO2 on carbon fibers and then growing vertically aligned carbon nanotubes on the fibers. This work could greatly improve the compressive strength of carbon/carbon composites.
Dr. Fujii (Mitsubishi Electric Corporation) described a new 8k LCD display that uses an RGB laser backlight that can display 98% of the colors found in nature. Unfortunately, Dr. Fujii says, the method is too expensive to commercialize for televisions, so, sadly, these televisions will not be in our homes for us to experience.
Although I was initially unsure about my research fitting in at this conference, I found that there is always a bridge between various branches of science. My supercapacitor research was connected to insulation technology, carbon/carbon composites, and even LCD displays.
This conference was a great opportunity to interact with scientists that look at the world from a different perspective than mine. These interactions have immediately paid off with new ideas for me to try for my project upon my return back to Georgia Tech. In the famous words of Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” I am certain that the ACerS community is full of giants and that the collaborative nature of this community will touch many areas of science beyond ceramics.