Support and FAQs

Whether you need help choosing the right Phase Equilibrium Diagram Product or troubleshooting problems after your purchase, ACerS is there to give you support.  We offer the following FAQs, which should provide you the information you need.  If not, please do not hesitate to contact the following people.

Product questions and quotations

ACerS Customer Service,

Technical support

Phase support team,

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ACerS-NIST Phase Equilibria Diagram product

The program provides 30,000 relevant, critically evaluated phase diagrams with commentaries for inorganic compounds (ceramics and glasses), including oxides, non-oxides, salts, carbides, nitrides, borides, compound semiconductors, pnictides and chalcogenides. Also included is the PED Viewer which simplifies the analysis of these complex graphs. This program is the result of a collaboration between the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and The American Ceramic Society (ACerS) that began more than 60 years ago.

The data are pertinent to a wide variety of applications and include systems of interest for renewable energy technologies (e.g. heat-storage/transfer materials, conversion phosphors, photovoltaics, molten electrolytes, advanced anode and electrolyte materials for battery applications, nuclear-reactor technology and radioactive waste recycling) and next-generation electronic, magnetic, photonic, and optoelectronic devices (e.g. proton conductors, luminescent hosts, solid-electrolyte membranes, liquid-crystal displays, electrochemical sensors, magnetic sensors, actuators, capacitors, transducers, thermoelectric elements, memory elements, fluorescent LED materials, laser hosts, optical fibers, magnetic refrigerators, thermoluminescent elements). The collection includes data for material systems of interest in other diverse applications such as antibacterial agents, bio-compatible ceramics, cutting materials, fluxes for metallurgical processing/electrolytic refining, improved cement, ceramic filters, semiconductor manufacturing, catalysts and photo-catalysts, thermal‐barrier coatings, pigments, and fuel cells.

What is new with Version 4.5?

PHASE Version 4.5 adds 720 new diagrams with 268 new expert commentaries to the comprehensive database beyond that available in Version 4.4.  The focus of this update is sustainability and clean energy generation.

These systems include numerous complex salt systems containing Li and rare earth elements, ZnO-containing complex oxides and phosphates, mixed Li-based salt-oxides, transition-metal oxides containing rare earths, heavy-metal- (Tl, Te, Pb) or Li-containing semiconductors, transition-metal salt systems, and heavy-metal-containing salt systems.

These newly added diagrams reflect the need for data and emphasis of research efforts on challenges in emerging energy technologies, including corrosion issues in molten-salt Generation IV nuclear reactors, heat-transfer and/or -storage in nuclear as well as concentrated solar power, and development of next-generation batteries.

Other new figures in Version 4.5 provide data pertinent to the recovery/recycling of rare earths; semiconducting systems for laser diodes, photoluminescence, solar cells, displays, chemical sensors, switches, thermoelectrics, and data-storage; non-linear optical materials; spintronics (topological insulators); photoelectrodes (mixed ionic-electrical conductors); photocatalysts; scintillators; thermal-barrier coatings; carbon-storage in the earth's mantle; metallurgical processing methods with reduced carbon emissions; electroceramics for dielectric applications; glass-ceramics for dental restoration materials; and advanced cement for oil wells.

PHASE Version 4.5 also contains significant usability improvements over Version 4.1 or older. In Version 4.5, all Figures (the diagrams and commentary for a discrete ceramic materials system) are available in .pdf file formats.  In the older versions the diagrams and the commentary were separated and were difficult to attain simultaneously and print.  The .pdf Figures in Version 4.5 automatically contain both the diagrams and the commentary for the system and are readily printable in book-quality resolution.

What are the available formats for the PHASE product?

USB memory stick (PHASE USB) and web-based subscription (PHASE ONLINE).  Both have single-user and multi-user versions that use username/password verification. PHASE ONLINE has a Library version of that uses IP verification for access anywhere within an institutional or corporate network.

What are the technical requirements?
  • Web browser, Chrome or Firefox recommended
  • Document viewer for PDF files (Acrobat® or Foxit® or PDF enabled web browser)
  • The PHASE (NIST SRD31) product requires installation of Java™ SE version 8.  You can download the latest version at PHASE/SRD31 will not operate with any other Java version such as OpenJDK or versions 9 or higher.  Please note that beginning with Java 8 update 211, Oracle enacted the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) License Agreement for Java SE. The new license continues to permit certain uses at no cost (e.g. personal gaming). Other uses, including this application, now require the OTN License and a Java SE Subscription. Consult with your computer/software manager about your organization’s JAVA license status.If you cannot use JAVA, then you will still have access to PDF versions of the diagrams.
  • PC running on Windows® 7 or 10 (Phase USB does not run on MAC or other operating systems)
  • 2 GB RAM, 4 GB hard disk available, dual core processor 1.87 GHz or better
How do I choose the right format?

Answer four questions:

  • How many simultaneous workstations? More than one means multi-user or library version.
  • Will I use this on a MAC or other non-Windows PC workstation that can run JAVA? Yes means PHASE ONLINE
  • Do I have a good internet connection? No means PHASE USB (yes means either will work)
  • Will my funding be ongoing or one-time only? One-time means PHASE USB (note that PHASE USB updates are not automatic and have additional one-time costs)

For more information go to Compare and Purchase page

Can I try before I buy?

Yes.  Go to the Free Phase Demo page to view demonstration videos and download the full software with limited trial database.

Are all published diagrams and commentaries included in the database?
The Phase Equilibria Diagrams database includes all ACerS/NIST commentaries and diagrams published by ACerS and/or NIST from the book Phase Diagrams for Ceramists Volume I through the current version of the PHASE database/software. 
Which ceramic systems are included in the PED product?
  • Oxides and mixed systems with oxides
  • Chalcogenides (sulfides, selenides, tellurides)
  • Pnictides (N, P, As, Sb, Bi)
  • Carbides, Carbonates, Silicides, and Silicates
  • Actinides (U, Pu, Th)
  • Rare earths (Ce, Gd, Eu)
  • Oxy‐cation systems (molybdates, vanadates)
  • Semiconductors (Si, Ge, Sn)
  • Group 3 systems (B, Al, Ga, In, Tl)
  • Salts including mixed systems with salts
  • Others

Want to see if your ceramic or glass system is included? Download the Phase Demo.  The database contains the list of all ceramic systems found in Version 4.5.

Am I permitted to republish the content contained in the ACerS-NIST Phase Equilibria Diagrams Search database?
Yes, but you must properly cite the source:

Phase Equilibria Diagrams Database (NIST Standard Reference Database 31), The American Ceramic Society and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2021. Figure Number(s) ____, ____; .
Why are phase equilibrium diagrams important?

Understanding phase equilibria in ceramic systems is central to the use and development of materials in refractories, glass, and other high-temperature technologies. Phase equilibria diagrams answer questions about flexibility and constraints of a ceramic or glass component in high-temperature or high-pressure environments. Phase boundaries also assist in the evaluation of the service stability of a ceramic material, both in the long and short time frames.  For an introdctory text on the use and interpretation of phase diagrams, please download General Discussions of Phase Diagrams by F.P. Hall, H. Insley, E.M. Levin, H.F. McMurdie and C.R. Robbins.


How do I get more help?

If your questions were not answered, email us.