Ultra-High Temperature Ceramics: Materials for Extreme Environment Applications

An ECI Conference

June 7-10, 2020
The Lodge at Snowbird
Snowbird, Utah, USA

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About This Conference

Ultra-High Temperature Ceramics are a family of compounds that display a unique set of properties, including extremely high melting temperatures (>3000°C), high hardness and good chemical stability and strength at high temperatures.  UHTC materials are typically considered to be the carbides, nitrides, and borides of the transition metals, but the Group IV compounds (Ti, Zr, Hf) plus TaC are generally considered to be the main focus of research due to the superior melting temperatures and stable high-melting temperature oxide that forms in situ. The combination of properties make these materials potential candidates for a variety of high-temperature structural applications, including engines, high-speed vehicles, plasma arc electrodes, advanced nuclear fuels, fusion first walls and divertors, cutting tools, furnace elements and high temperature shielding.

The development of structural materials for use in oxidizing and rapid heating environments at temperatures above 1600°C is therefore of great engineering importance. For the past two decades researchers have built on a resurgence in exploration of UHTCs and have expanded the scope of engineering and design using these novel materials.  Topics such as incorporating UHTCs in fiber reinforced composites; investigating unique high entropy carbides and borides, and expanding the field of MAX phases have all led to new developments. The purpose of this meeting is to thus bring together interested parties from academia, government and industry in a single forum that allows the bench researchers to interact with designers and engineers to discuss state-of-the-art research and development efforts, what the results mean in a broader context and how to move the technology forward toward near-term and longer term use.


Interest in high temperature ceramic phases has been growing in recent years, with significant ongoing research programmes in many countries across the world. This has occurred because the conditions in which materials are required to operate are becoming ever more challenging as operating temperatures and pressures are increasing in all areas of manufacture, energy generation, transport and environmental clean-up. Often extreme temperatures are combined with severe chemical environments and exposure to high energy and, in the nuclear industry, to ionizing radiation. The production and processing of next-generation materials capable of operating in these conditions is non-trivial, especially at the scale required in many of these applications. In some cases, totally new compositions, processing and joining strategies have to be developed. The need for long-term reliability in many components means that defects introduced during processing will need to be kept to an absolute minimum or defect-tolerant systems developed, e.g. via fiber reinforcement. Modelling techniques that link different length and time scales to define the materials chemistry, microstructure and processing strategy are key to speeding up the development of these next-generation materials. Further, they will not function in isolation but as part of a system. It is the behaviour of the latter that is crucial, so that interactions between different materials, the joining processes, the behaviour of the different parts under extreme conditions and how they can be made to work together, must be understood.

This conference seeks to bring together the entire community – processing and oxidation bench scientists, designers, engineers and users of these materials under one roof to present on and discuss emerging and state of the art UHTC processing, evaluation, and implementation techniques.

This conference is the fifth of a regular series of meetings held every two to three years. The vision for this workshop is to have 5 main topic areas:

  • Processing (including all processing steps, scale up issues and novel approaches);
  • Environmental response (including thermodynamic considerations, oxidation behaviour, etc);
  • Characterization (including thermomechanical properties, subscale testing, etc);
  • Modelling (at all levels, from atomistic to processing and property related); and
  • Applications (including high-speed flight, propulsion, and energy related).

As with the previous conferences, the bulk of the work is likely to be focused on processing and characterisation studies, as these materials are the subject of numerous fundamental research programs, but it is important to encourage cross-fertilization with modellers and application driven activities ongoing within the testing and design communities, as well as bringing in the “bigger picture” systems-level engineers and managers to introduce them to the capabilities of the materials and share with the researchers their needs.

Conference Organization

Conference Chair & Co-Chairs

Dr. Carmen Carney, Air Force Research Laboratory; Materials and Manufacturing Directorate  Tel: +1-937-255-9154

Dr. Carolina Tallon, Virginia Tech; Department of Materials Science and Engineering,    Tel: +1-540-231-2506

Dr. Gregory Thompson, University of Alabama; Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering   Tel: +1-205-348-1589

Dr. Chris Weinberger, Colorado State University Department of Mechanical Engineering    Tel: +1-970-491-1625

Organizing Committee

Dr. Jon Binner (Birmingham University, UK)

Dr. Michael Cinibulk (Air Force Research Lab, USA)

Dr. William Fahrenholtz (Missouri University of Science & Technology, USA)

Dr. Frederic Monteverde (Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics ISTEC, Italy)

Dr. Elizabeth Opila (University of Virginia, USA)

Dr. Diletta Sciti (Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics ISTEC, Italy)

Dr. Eric Wuchina (Naval Surface Warfare Center, USA)

Dr. Yanchun Zhou (Aerospace Research Institute of Materials & Processing Technology, China)

Conference Venue

18AS Snowmass

Snowbird Resort is nestled within the Little Cottonwood Canyon, in the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains in the state of Utah. This mountain setting offers excellent meeting facilities, dining, accommodations and activities. Salt Lake International Airport (SLC) is approximately 29 miles away from Snowbird. Ground transportation options between Salt Lake International Airport and Snowbird include rental car, taxi (approximately $75-$85 one-way), and shuttle service (approximately $45 one-way and $82 round trip) with Canyon Transportation.

Conference participants will be housed in The Cliff Lodge that offers three restaurants, two lounges, two swimming pools, four hot tubs and a world-class spa.

Trail & Village Maps

Address:  9385 S. Snowbird Center Drive,  Snowbird, UT 84092-9000

General Information about ECI

Engineering Conferences International (ECI) is a global engineering conferences program, originally established in 1962, that provides opportunities for the exploration of problems and issues of concern to engineers and scientists from many disciplines.

The format of the weeklong research conference provides morning and late afternoon or evening sessions in which major presentations are made. Available time is included during the afternoons for ad hoc meetings, informal discussions, and/or recreation. This format is designed to enhance rapport among participants and promote dialogue on the development of the meeting. We believe that the conferences have been instrumental in generating ideas and disseminating information to a greater extent than is possible through more conventional forums.

All participants are expected both to attend the entire conference and to contribute actively to the discussions. The recording/photographing of lectures and presentations is forbidden. As ECI conferences take place in an informal atmosphere, casual clothing is the usual attire.

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