A Strategy for Research on Synthesis of Ceramics Materials
Advances in materials research are closely correlated with the discovery or purposive synthesis of new materials or new processes for preparing materials. During the last two or three decades, there has been emerging a capacity to ‘design’ materials optimized for a particular use or device, and to synthesize new materials to these specifications. However, serendipity still plays a major role in new materials development, and the question of the optimum research strategy for materials synthesis studies has received insufficient attention. Such research strategy may be just as important as new instruments in the search for new materials.
A brief review of novel syntheses and new processes across the whole field of ceramics is followed by examples from the author’s laboratory of the synthesis of new materials involving unit cell level manipulation of composition, and changes at the macromolecular level and at the nanometer level. The new materials discussed range from zero-expansion ceramics to nanocomposites and superconductors and new processes range from those for making powders to those for ultra-high pressure phases. The case studies illustrate the author’s research strategy, combining state-of-the-art empirical ‘theory’ with opportunistic response to serendipitous observations.
KeywordsCeramic Material Zirconium Oxychloride Opportunistic Response Transformation Toughening Serendipitous Observation
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