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K-State Today

August 23, 2022

Hybrid workshop showcases next-generation ceramic composites for aerospace and defense industry

Submitted by Sailesh Menon

2022 PIRE PDC MATCOM-COMMAT workshop group pic

Building on prior successful meetings, the fifth annual NSF PIRE PDC workshop was hosted in a hybrid format in conjunction with graduate school Technische Universität Darmstadt, or TU-D, from July 31–Aug. 7 in Austria.

The project team from the United States was led by K-State College of Engineering professor Gurpreet Singh, while the European portion of the workshop was managed by Professor Ralf Riedel from TU-D. Three German research institutes participated in the workshop: TU-D, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, or KIT, and DECHEMA Research Institute, or DFI.

Singh is the principal investigator of the National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research and Education, or PIRE, project awarded to K-State as the lead university. The project focus is to build research and education programs related to precursor derived ceramic-fibers and ceramic matrix composites, or CMC, science and technology.

"For this year's workshop, we joined hands with project partners from Germany," Singh said. "It was a great learning experience for everyone involved. The workshop gave us an opportunity to learn more about the research projects that our foreign partners are pursuing. There was a strong focus on student research and accomplishments. We had four university professors, nine graduate and five undergraduate students participating from the U.S. side."

"The aim of the research training group funded by the German Science Foundation 'Materials Compounds from Composite Materials' is to develop new types of composites that allow the temperatures of combustion engines and processes to rise sharply under extreme environmental conditions," Riedel said.

The research training group is a joint project of the KIT, led by Professor Dr.-Ing. Martin Heilmaier and TU-D, led by Riedel. DFI is involved in the project. The project has been approved for four and a half years. Thirteen doctoral students from KIT, TU-D and DFI presented and discussed their research in context with the research program of the PIRE group devoted to high-temperature ceramic fibers.

The workshop covered topics in the field of PDCs, high-temperature CMC materials, additive manufacturing of ceramic composites, PDCs for energy storage, and other ultrahigh-temperature materials for aerospace applications. A key focus area of the workshop was to find ways to translate academic research to meet industrial needs, so the novel materials produced through this project have a wide variety of defense applications. Industry participation was represented by attendees from the General Electric company, Niskayuna, New York and BJS ceramics, Germany.

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

For more information about PIRE and related innovations, visit k-state.edu/pire/ or call 785-532-7085.