Created ultralight ceramic material withstanding extreme temperatures


Scientists out of nine research institutes jointly created an extremely lightweight and very durable ceramic material. Due to the unique properties, it is able to withstand strong heating, huge temperature drops and has high flexibility.

Although ceramic aerogels are used to isolate equipment and spacecraft for more than 20 years, but researchers have developed a new, more advanced version of the material. Their invention consists of thin layers of boron nitride, atoms that form hexagonal structures as a wire mesh. However, in contrast to other materials, it otherwise reacts to heating and shocks, that is, it is compressed perpendicular to the direction of pressure and when the temperature is raised.

Due to this, it can be compressed up to 5% of the volume, and then fully restore its original shape. During the test, the material exceeded other options for ceramic airgels. He endured hundreds of sharp and extreme drops when engineers changed the temperature in a container with -198 ° C to 900 ° C in just a few seconds. In another test, it has lost less than 1% of its mechanical strength after the week was stored at 1400 ° C.

According to scientists, the unique properties of the new ceramic aerogel are due to its architecture. Good flexibility helps better resist multiple shocks, high temperatures and sharp changes, from which other materials are destroyed over time. More than 99% of its volume is air, and the structure has internal «walls», which increases insulating properties and reduces the mass.

Technology developers made that the new airgel can be adapted to manufacture other ultralight materials that can be used for isolation, heat storage, catalyst or filtration.

Spanish researchers also submitted