MSE Special Seminar: Ceramic Armor: Protection for Extreme Environments

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
12:00 p.m.
Kim Engineering Bldg, Pepco Room 1111
Sherri Tatum

Speaker: Derek S. King, Research Scientist, UES, Inc.

Title: Ceramic Armor: Protection for Extreme Environments


Delicate, fragile, art. If you were to ask someone from the general populace what a ceramic is, these are thoughts that might pop into their head.  They’re not wrong, and yet, they’re not fully right.  Indeed, ceramics are the backbone of many amazing artworks. I myself, love to marvel at carved marble statues from ancient Italy, and I’m appreciative of the simple whitewares available almost everywhere you can shop; however, I view ceramics differently.  Strong, hard, hot!  To survive extreme environments, ceramics need to be strong, but even if your specific ceramic is strong, it will often suffer from brittle fracture behavior.  To combat this, ceramics can be fabricated with fibrous reinforcement and fail in a graceful manner.  An example of this is a SiCf/SiC composite, where high strength SiC fibers (up to 3.5 GPa tensile strength) are used to reinforce a melt infiltrated matrix.  The increase in toughness for SiC from this type of reinforcement has allowed GE Aviation to start the qualification and certification of ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) for commercial flight applications.  In a turbine engine, these CMCs would find use as the thermal protection system in high temperature combustion areas of the engine.  Aside from CMCs, ultra-high temperature ceramics (UHTCs), which typically have melting temperatures >3000°C can provide protection in extreme environments.  These materials exhibit better oxidation performance and strength retention at high temperatures when compared to their metallic counterparts, such as tungsten.  Because of their superior performance, they are prime candidate materials for leading edges and combustor components for hypersonic flight.  In this talk, I will discuss my journey into ceramic engineering and the applications where I’ve researched ceramics that can serve as protective armor for extreme environments, and outline my vision for future research in this area.   


Derek King is currently a Research Scientist at UES, Inc. focusing on matrix processing of ceramic matrix composites. Derek earned his B.S. in Ceramic Engineering in 2010 from Missouri S&T, and stayed at S&T to pursue a M.S. in Ceramic Engineering. For his M.S. work, Derek worked with Saint-Gobain Advanced Ceramics, focusing on silicon carbide-titanium diboride ceramics for armor applications. Derek was presented an exciting research opportunity and again decided to stay at Missouri S&T to pursue a Ph.D. in Ceramic Engineering. His work was conducted in cooperation with Mo-Sci Corporation and involved the joining of ultra high temperature ceramics (UHTCs), specifically zirconium diboride, by arc welding. Derek's graduate work led to the publication of 5 peer reviewed papers and several conference presentations.

Audience: Campus 

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