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Understanding Why Ceramics Fail and Designing for Safety


Sunday, October 12, 2014
8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Instructors: Steve Freiman, Freiman Consulting Inc.; John J. (Jack) Mecholsky, Jr., University of Florida

Location: In conjunction with MS&T14



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ACerS Member – $595 on or before September 11. $745 after September 11.

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Nonmember – $665 on or before September 11. $815 after September 11.

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Student – $275 on or before September 11. $350 after September 11.


Course Description  

Engineers who use ceramic components, whether in electronic, optical, or structural applications, recognize that their brittleness can result in damage and possible mechanical failure.  In this course we will  explore the practical fracture mechanics background necessary to understand brittle failure, and describe some of the unique characteristics of ceramic materials which must be taken into account in their design and use.  Microstructural effects, which have a major influence on both fracture toughness and strength, will be explored in some detail.  The deleterious effects of external environments, particularly water, on crack growth, and the test procedures needed to explore this phenomenon will be discussed. Best practices in the use of both fracture mechanics and strength tests will be reviewed.  Quantitative fractographic analysis of failed parts will be shown to be a powerful tool in understanding the cause of failure as well as to quantitatively determine failure stresses that arose in-service.  Finally, a modern, computer-driven approach to statistically examine strength distributions for ceramics will be demonstrated.  It will be shown that this tool can be used to set service stresses which will ensure safe lifetimes to very low probabilities of failure.


Instructor Biographies  

Freiman, Stephen W_1998 (2)Stephen Freiman graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a B. ChE. and a M. S. in Metallurgy. After receiving a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida in 1968, Freiman worked at the IIT Research Institute and the Naval Research Laboratory. He joined NIST (then NBS) in 1978. From 1992 to 2002 Freiman served as Chief of the Ceramics Division at NIST, overseeing programs in ceramic processing and properties. Prior to his leaving NIST in 2006 to start a consulting business (Freiman Consulting Inc.), Freiman served for four years as Deputy Director of the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory. Freiman has published over 200 scientific papers focusing primarily on the mechanical properties of brittle materials. He was the first Chairman of the ASTM Subcommittee addressing brittle fracture and a past Chair of the Steering Committee of the Versailles Project for Advanced Materials and Standards. Freiman served as Treasurer, and President of The American Ceramic Society, and is a Fellow and Distinguished Life Member of the Society. Dr. Freiman is coauthor of the book The Fracture of Brittle Materials: Testing and Analysis.


mecholskyJackDr. John J. (Jack) Mecholsky, Jr., Ph.D, is a Professor at the University of Florida in the Materials Science and Engineering Department.  He served as the Associate Chair from 2005-2010, the Chair of the Faculty Senate in the 2009-2010 academic year and served on the Board of Trustees for the University of Florida (2009-2010).  He is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS).  He served on the Board of Directors of the American Ceramic Society from 2006 to 2009.  He is known as an international expert in the fractographic analysis of brittle materials. Professor Mecholsky has over 200 technical publications and over 50 technical reports.  While on sabbatical leave (1995-1996) he served as the Associate Director for Materials at the Office of Naval Research in London (UK), as a Guest Researcher (in 2006) at the National Institute for Standards and Technology and as a guest researcher at Imperial College ( 2010) and at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge University (2013). Prior to 1990 he held a joint appointment at the Penn State University in the Materials Science Department as an Associate Professor and as a Research Associate in the (U. S. Navy’s) Advanced Research Laboratory. From 1979-1984 he was a member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque NM.  He worked at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C. from 1972–1979 as a Ceramic Research Engineer. Dr. Mecholsky is coauthor of the book The Fracture of Brittle Materials: Testing and Analysis.


Cancellation Policy

ACerS reserves the right to cancel a course up to 4 weeks before the scheduled presentation date. Please contact ACerS customer service at 1-866-721-3322 or 1-240-646-7054 to confirm that the course is happening before purchasing your airline tickets. ACerS is not responsible for the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or the cancellation/change fees associated with canceling a flight.


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