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Mechanics-tailored Functional Ceramics via Dislocations

Project description

Revolutionising ceramics with controllable dislocations

Advanced functional ceramics are crucial materials for many industries. Their production relies on using point defects or interfaces. Recently, dislocations have gained considerable attention as a potential solution that could greatly expand the use of ceramics by enabling many novel engineering methods. However, the brittle and hard nature of ceramics makes it difficult to efficiently manage dislocations. The EU-funded MECERDIS project aims to utilise a revolutionary mechanics-guide design along with external fields to allow for much better control of dislocations. This innovative approach would allow for more precise and efficient use of dislocations in ceramics, expanding their potential applications.


Advanced functional ceramics play an indispensable role in our modern society and they are typically engineered by point defects or interfaces. The potential of dislocations (one-dimensional atomic distortions) in functional ceramics has been greatly underestimated until most recently. Exciting proofs-of-concept have been demonstrated for dislocation-tuned functionality such as electrical conductivity, superconductivity, and ferroelectric properties, revealing a new horizon of dislocation technology in ceramics for a wide range of next-generation applications from sensors, actuators to energy converters.
However, it is widely known that ceramics are hard (difficult to deform) and brittle (easy to fracture), making it a great challenge to tailor dislocations in ceramics. This pressing bottleneck hinders the dislocation-tuned functionality and the true realization of dislocation technology.
To break through this bottleneck, MECERDIS employs mechanics-guided design coupled with external fields (thermal, light illumination, electric field) to manipulate the 3 most fundamental factors of dislocation mechanics: nucleation, multiplication, and motion. These external fields greatly impact the charged dislocation cores in ceramics and open new routes for mechanical tuning. With these novel approaches, MECERDIS aims to generate, control, and stabilize dislocations in large plastic volumes up to mm-size with high density up to 10^15/m^2 to allow large-scale preparation for functionality assessment. Another essential benefit is, dislocations are an effective tool to combat the brittleness of ceramics by improving the damage tolerance and fracture toughness.
MECERDIS will not only fulfil the key prerequisite of dislocation-tuned functionality but also secure the mechanical integrity and operational stability of future dislocation-based devices. With its success, MECERDIS will define a new paradigm of engineering functional ceramics using mechanics and dislocations.


Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 402 570,00
76131 Karlsruhe

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Baden-Württemberg Karlsruhe Karlsruhe, Stadtkreis
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 402 570,00

Beneficiaries (2)