Overview to OPTIMAC project


Functional  ceramics find  use in  many  different  applications of great  interest, e.g. thermal barrier coatings, piezoactuators, capacitors, solid oxide fuel cells and electrolysis cells, membranes, and filters. It is often the case that the performance of a ceramic component can be increased markedly if it is possible to vary the relevant properties (e.g. electrical, electrochemical, or magnetic) in a controlled manner along the extent of the component. Such composites in which ceramic layers of different composition and/or microstructure are combined provide a new and intriguing dimension to the field of functional ceramics research. Advances in ceramic forming have enabled low cost shaping techniques such as tape casting and extrusion to be used in some of the most challenging technologies.  

These advances  allow  the  design  of  complex  components  adapted  to  desired  specific  properties  and applications. However, there is still only very limited insight into the processes determining the final properties of such components. 
The aim of OPTIMAC project is therefore to obtain the required knowledge basis for the optimized processing of multi-material functional ceramics components.

The research will center on the shaping and sintering of functionally graded multi-material architectures that can be made by tape casting and extrusion. For the first time microscopic models which describe the formation and sintering of such complex structures will be developed. A key effort will be an increased knowledge of densification mechanisms and quantitative predictions of the mechanical  properties  and  the  evolution  of  microstructure  during  heat  treatment  and  sintering. Understanding the interplay between the processing parameters, densification and mechanical behavior  of  these  complex  shapes  will  facilitate  the  design  of  components  with  improved  properties.  The modeling will be validated by experimental studies, and the results will be implemented in three promising energy technologies: magnetic refrigeration, oxygen membranes and flue gas purification.

The  outcome   of  the  project  is  of  high  scientific  relevance  for  the  development  of  future environmentally friendly materials for energy generation, an area where Risø DTU has an outstanding international  expertise.  

The research spans the whole range from a fundamental description of forming phenomena to the development and application of new functional parts.  Seven PhD students and two postdoctoral researchers will be involved in the project working within a competitive, international team of experts in modeling, materials synthesis and processing.