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K-State Today

July 26, 2018

K-State faculty hosts first workshop on polymer-derived ceramics funded by NSF

Submitted by Sailesh Menon


Kansas State University hosted the first polymer-derived ceramics workshop on July 16-18 at the K-State Alumni Center. The workshop is funded by a National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research and Education, or PIRE, grant.

Gurpreet Singh, associate professor in the College of Engineering and principal investigator, was awarded the grant for his work on polymer-derived ceramics, or PDCs, to create super turbines.

Currently, commercially available non-oxide ceramic fibers, which can be used in components for hot sections of gas turbines, are constituted from silicon and carbon developed in the 1970s and are available only from Japan. Basic and applied research on next-generation multi-component polymer-derived ceramic fibers at universities is conducted nearly entirely in Japan and Europe. The PIRE team is concerned that university research in the U.S. is not keeping pace with fundamental research on non-oxide ceramic fibers elsewhere in the world.

"We face a shortage of graduate students trained in this area at American universities, who have strong links with their international counterparts," Singh said. Therefore, we use PIRE to develop an essential, mutually beneficial international consortium for ceramic fiber research that builds upon the on-going activities in Japan, Italy, Germany and France. International partners will benefit from U.S. expertise in thermo-chemo-mechanical characterization of ceramics while non-U.S. partners bring experience in chemistry and processing knowledge of pre-ceramic polymers to the program."

The workshop was primarily designed to promote face-to-face interactions among PIRE members and expand the scope of PDC fibers through research and education. Participation in the workshop was open to anyone interested in the field of polymer-derived ceramics and high-temperature ceramic matrix composite materials. The next generation of PDC students can look to Singh and his team to mentor them in the right direction.

"I am very excited for the future of PDCs and the camaraderie that being part of such a huge collaboration brings," said Singh.

More information about PIRE and related innovations visit nsf-pire-pdc.com, see LinkedIn, or contact Singh at 785-532-7085 or gurpreet@k-state.edu

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