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Chinese scientists from the Guangzhou University’s School of Materials Science and Engineering have developed a new porous ceramic that could revolutionize aerospace, energy, and chemical engineering. The material reportedly has high mechanical strength and excellent thermal insulation properties that could also make it ideal for hypersonic aircraft.

According to Interesting Engineering, porous ceramic materials are in high demand for thermal insulation due to their lightweight, chemically inert, and low thermal conductivity, making them good insulators. Nevertheless, it is difficult to achieve high mechanical strength and thermal insulation in porous ceramics, because a high number of pores results in reduced strength. Furthermore, conventional porous materials can lose strength and shrink at high temperatures, which makes them unsuitable for aerospace applications.

To solve this issue, the team of scientists developed a new type of ceramic that overcomes the limitations of traditional ceramics. 9PHEB has a multiscale structural design and is created by mixing nine cationic components (ions with a positive charge) based on the high-entropy concept.

The ceramic reportedly performed well on insulation and thermal stability tests, keeping 98.5% of its strength at 1,500°C. 9HPEB demonstrated plastic deformation at 2,000°C, unlike brittle traditional ceramics. The material shrank by about 2.4% after being annealed at 2,000°C, but its volume and dimensions remained unchanged by the high heat.

The researchers explained that the ceramic’s mechanical and thermal properties are a result of its “multiscale” design, which includes ultrafine pores at the microscale, high-quality interfaces at the nanoscale, and severe lattice distortion at the atomic scale.

The material’s characteristics enhance its mechanical strength and thermal insulation, making it suitable for extreme conditions, with experts claiming it has a potential for wide-ranging applications in aerospace, energy, and chemical engineering industries.