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Press Release 93-51
Linda S. Ellis
(Bus: 216/433-2900)

Unique New Chemical Could Improve Ceramic Materials

Cleveland, OH -- A new and unique group of ceramic processing chemicals that may revolutionize the ceramic industry has been developed by researchers at NASA Lewis Research Center.

The new processing chemicals, derived from the base organic compound guanidine, may lead to high purity ceramic products which can better withstand temperatures over 2190 degrees Fahrenheit (1200 degrees Celsius).

"These chemicals have direct use in the aerospace industry. We can use them to form lightweight, corrosion-resistant ceramic parts leading to more efficient aircraft engines and rocket motors," according to Dr. Warren H. Philipp, inventor and Senior Research Chemist in the Materials Division.

"There's also a real need for pure ceramics in such items as superconductors, semiconductors, electric capacitors and thermal barrier coatings."

Ceramic product components are generally fabricated from powders using a variety of techniques. Normally, after processing, a residue containing sodium or potassium remains and weakens the ceramic material at high temperatures.

However, with the guanidine-based processing chemicals, there is no sodium or potassium residue. The ceramics produced using this method have reduced corrosion problems and improved high-temperature strength.

"Ceramic composites consist of a ceramic matrix reinforced by ceramic fibers. The fibers in the matrix are usually coated to inhibit cracks from occurring or spreading. Guanidine soaps are used to coat the ceramic fibers" adds Dr. Philipp.

The guanidine compound was synthesized when scientists were searching for a sodium free compound for use in producing pure superconductors. The use of guanidine in commercial ceramics is an example of technology utilization-technology developed for aerospace applications that can be applied to non-aerospace uses.

NASA's Technology Utilization Program was established in 1962 to encourage greater use of agency knowledge by providing a link between the NASA research community and those that might use the research for commercial or industrial products.

Additional information may be obtained by calling the Technology Utilization Office at 216/433-5568.

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