Special Issue "Ceramic Nanocomposites: Design Concepts towards Tailor-Made (Multi)Functionality and Prospective Energy-Related Applications"

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A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Emanuel Ionescu (Website)

Technische Universität Darmstadt, Institute for Materials Science, Jovanka-Bontschits-Strasse 2, D-64287 Darmstadt, Germany
Y Universität zu Köln, Institute for Inorganic Chemistry, Greinstrasse 6, 50939 Köln, Germany
Fax: +49-6151-16-6346
Interests: nanocomposite materials; ceramic nanocomposites; ultrahigh-temperature stable materials; multifunctional nanocomposites; single-source-precursor-based syntheses; materials chemistry; organometallic and polymer chemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nanocomposite materials can be defined as consisting of at least two Gibbsian phases, one of them being nanoscaled. The term nanocomposite can be traced back to Roy and Komarneni, who have used sol-gel-based processes in order to generate heterogeneous powders. This class of materials has received increased attention in the 1980s, due to the work of Gleiter on nanocrystalline materials, showing that by reducing the size of the components within the composite materials towards the nanoscale, an enormous improvement in their properties (e.g., mechanical, electrical, optical, etc.) can be achieved. As the work of Gleiter and later on of Niihara indicate, the concepts used for the synthesis of nanocomposite materials allow for the production of materials with exceptional properties which can exhibit intrinsic multifunctionality.

The present issue will focus on design concepts related to preparative approaches for ceramic nanocomposites with tailor-made structural and (multi)functional properties. Furthermore, aspects related to characterization techniques of ceramic nanocomposites, their properties and microstructures as well as their prospective use in energy-related applications (e.g., energy conversion, energy storage, energy transfer, etc.) will also be addressed.

Dr. Emanuel Ionescu
Guest Editor

Submission

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Keywords

  • structural ceramic nanocomposites
  • multifunctional ceramic nanocomposites
  • preparative techniques
  • solid-state synthesis
  • sol-gel techniques
  • single-source-precursor synthesis
  • processing methods
  • microstructure

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Meso-Structuring of SiCN Ceramics by Polystyrene Templates
Nanomaterials 2015, 5(2), 425-435; doi:10.3390/nano5020425
Received: 27 February 2015 / Revised: 17 March 2015 / Accepted: 19 March 2015 / Published: 27 March 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (778 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A simple one-pot synthesis of well-defined PS-silazane nano-composites (polystyrene, PS) is described. In contrast to the, thus far, used two-step procedure ((1) assembly of a PS template bed and (2) careful filling of the voids between the PS spheres), which is restricted [...] Read more.
A simple one-pot synthesis of well-defined PS-silazane nano-composites (polystyrene, PS) is described. In contrast to the, thus far, used two-step procedure ((1) assembly of a PS template bed and (2) careful filling of the voids between the PS spheres), which is restricted to macro structuring, we are able to simply mix the PS template and a commercially available silazane precursor HTT-1800 in toluene. The key is the alteration of the zeta potential of the PS template leading to a homogeneous dispersion in the silazane-toluene mixture. Removal of solvent gives rise to a highly ordered PS-silazane nano-composites and subsequent pyrolysis leads to mesoporous silicon carbonitride (SiCN) materials. The one-pot procedure has two advantages: easy upscaling and the use of PS spheres smaller than 100 nm in diameter, here 60 nm. The PS template was characterized by photon correlation spectroscopy, zeta potential measurements, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA). The resulting mesoporous SiCN materials were analyzed by SEM, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), nitrogen sorption analysis, and Fourier transform infrared measurements (FT-IR). Full article
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Open AccessArticle Synthesis of Silver-Strontium Titanate Hybrid Nanoparticles by Sol-Gel-Hydrothermal Method
Nanomaterials 2015, 5(2), 386-397; doi:10.3390/nano5020386
Received: 4 February 2015 / Revised: 10 March 2015 / Accepted: 18 March 2015 / Published: 24 March 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2790 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Silver (Ag) nanoparticle-loaded strontium titanate (SrTiO3) nanoparticles were attempted to be synthesized by a sol-gel-hydrothermal method. We prepared the titanium oxide precursor gels incorporated with Ag+ and Sr2+ ions with various molar ratios, and they were successfully converted [...] Read more.
Silver (Ag) nanoparticle-loaded strontium titanate (SrTiO3) nanoparticles were attempted to be synthesized by a sol-gel-hydrothermal method. We prepared the titanium oxide precursor gels incorporated with Ag+ and Sr2+ ions with various molar ratios, and they were successfully converted into the Ag-SrTiO3 hybrid nanoparticles by the hydrothermal treatment at 230 °C in strontium hydroxide aqueous solutions. The morphology of the SrTiO3 nanoparticles is dendritic in the presence and absence of Ag+ ions. The precursor gels, which act as the high reactive precursor, give rise to high nucleation and growth rates under the hydrothermal conditions, and the resultant diffusion-limited aggregation phenomena facilitate the dendritic growth of SrTiO3. From the field-emission transmission electron microscope observation of these Ag-SrTiO3 hybrid nanoparticles, the Ag nanoparticles with a size of a few tens of nanometers are distributed without severe agglomeration, owing to the competitive formation reactions of Ag and SrTiO3. Full article
Open AccessArticle On the Mass Fractal Character of Si-Based Structural Networks in Amorphous Polymer Derived Ceramics
Nanomaterials 2015, 5(1), 366-375; doi:10.3390/nano5010366
Received: 6 February 2015 / Revised: 7 March 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 17 March 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2640 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The intermediate-range packing of SiNxC4−x (0 ≤ x ≤ 4) tetrahedra in polysilycarbodiimide and polysilazane-derived amorphous SiCN ceramics is investigated using 29Si spin-lattice relaxation nuclear magnetic resonance (SLR NMR) spectroscopy. The SiCN network in the polysilylcarbodiimide-derived ceramic [...] Read more.
The intermediate-range packing of SiNxC4−x (0 ≤ x ≤ 4) tetrahedra in polysilycarbodiimide and polysilazane-derived amorphous SiCN ceramics is investigated using 29Si spin-lattice relaxation nuclear magnetic resonance (SLR NMR) spectroscopy. The SiCN network in the polysilylcarbodiimide-derived ceramic consists predominantly of SiN4 tetrahedra that are characterized by a 3-dimensional spatial distribution signifying compact packing of such units to form amorphous Si3N4 clusters. On the other hand, the SiCN network of the polysilazane-derived ceramic is characterized by mixed bonded SiNxC4−x tetrahedra that are inefficiently packed with a mass fractal dimension of Df ~2.5 that is significantly lower than the embedding Euclidean dimension (D = 3). This result unequivocally confirms the hypothesis that the presence of dissimilar atoms, namely, 4-coordinated C and 3-coordinated N, in the nearest neighbor environment of Si along with some exclusion in connectivity between SiCxN4−x tetrahedra with widely different N:C ratios and the absence of bonding between C and N result in steric hindrance to an efficient packing of these structural units. It is noted that similar inefficiencies in packing are observed in polymer-derived amorphous SiOC ceramics as well as in proteins and binary hard sphere systems. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Structural Ceramic Nanocomposites: A Review of Properties and Powders’ Synthesis Methods
Nanomaterials 2015, 5(2), 656-696; doi:10.3390/nano5020656
Received: 6 March 2015 / Revised: 14 April 2015 / Accepted: 17 April 2015 / Published: 28 April 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (3958 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ceramic nanocomposites are attracting growing interest, thanks to new processing methods enabling these materials to go from the research laboratory scale to the commercial level. Today, many different types of nanocomposite structures are proposed in the literature; however, to fully exploit their [...] Read more.
Ceramic nanocomposites are attracting growing interest, thanks to new processing methods enabling these materials to go from the research laboratory scale to the commercial level. Today, many different types of nanocomposite structures are proposed in the literature; however, to fully exploit their exceptional properties, a deep understanding of the materials’ behavior across length scales is necessary. In fact, knowing how the nanoscale structure influences the bulk properties enables the design of increasingly performing composite materials. A further key point is the ability of tailoring the desired nanostructured features in the sintered composites, a challenging issue requiring a careful control of all stages of manufacturing, from powder synthesis to sintering. This review is divided into four parts. In the first, classification and general issues of nanostructured ceramics are reported. The second provides basic structure–property relations, highlighting the grain-size dependence of the materials properties. The third describes the role of nanocrystalline second-phases on the mechanical properties of ordinary grain sized ceramics. Finally, the fourth part revises the mainly used synthesis routes to produce nanocomposite ceramic powders, underlining when possible the critical role of the synthesis method on the control of microstructure and properties of the sintered ceramics. Full article
Open AccessReview Ceramic Nanocomposites from Tailor-Made Preceramic Polymers
Nanomaterials 2015, 5(2), 468-540; doi:10.3390/nano5020468
Received: 24 February 2015 / Revised: 13 March 2015 / Accepted: 15 March 2015 / Published: 1 April 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (2176 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present Review addresses current developments related to polymer-derived ceramic nanocomposites (PDC-NCs). Different classes of preceramic polymers are briefly introduced and their conversion into ceramic materials with adjustable phase compositions and microstructures is presented. Emphasis is set on discussing the intimate relationship [...] Read more.
The present Review addresses current developments related to polymer-derived ceramic nanocomposites (PDC-NCs). Different classes of preceramic polymers are briefly introduced and their conversion into ceramic materials with adjustable phase compositions and microstructures is presented. Emphasis is set on discussing the intimate relationship between the chemistry and structural architecture of the precursor and the structural features and properties of the resulting ceramic nanocomposites. Various structural and functional properties of silicon-containing ceramic nanocomposites as well as different preparative strategies to achieve nano-scaled PDC-NC-based ordered structures are highlighted, based on selected ceramic nanocomposite systems. Furthermore, prospective applications of the PDC-NCs such as high-temperature stable materials for thermal protection systems, membranes for hot gas separation purposes, materials for heterogeneous catalysis, nano-confinement materials for hydrogen storage applications as well as anode materials for secondary ion batteries are introduced and discussed in detail. Full article
Open AccessReview New Insights into Understanding Irreversible and Reversible Lithium Storage within SiOC and SiCN Ceramics
Nanomaterials 2015, 5(1), 233-245; doi:10.3390/nano5010233
Received: 5 December 2014 / Revised: 12 January 2015 / Accepted: 13 February 2015 / Published: 24 February 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (726 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Within this work we define structural properties of the silicon carbonitride (SiCN) and silicon oxycarbide (SiOC) ceramics which determine the reversible and irreversible lithium storage capacities, long cycling stability and define the major differences in the lithium storage in SiCN and SiOC. [...] Read more.
Within this work we define structural properties of the silicon carbonitride (SiCN) and silicon oxycarbide (SiOC) ceramics which determine the reversible and irreversible lithium storage capacities, long cycling stability and define the major differences in the lithium storage in SiCN and SiOC. For both ceramics, we correlate the first cycle lithiation or delithiation capacity and cycling stability with the amount of SiCN/SiOC matrix or free carbon phase, respectively. The first cycle lithiation and delithiation capacities of SiOC materials do not depend on the amount of free carbon, while for SiCN the capacity increases with the amount of carbon to reach a threshold value at ~50% of carbon phase. Replacing oxygen with nitrogen renders the mixed bond Si-tetrahedra unable to sequester lithium. Lithium is more attracted by oxygen in the SiOC network due to the more ionic character of Si-O bonds. This brings about very high initial lithiation capacities, even at low carbon content. If oxygen is replaced by nitrogen, the ceramic network becomes less attractive for lithium ions due to the more covalent character of Si-N bonds and lower electron density on the nitrogen atom. This explains the significant difference in electrochemical behavior which is observed for carbon-poor SiCN and SiOC materials. Full article
Open AccessReview Alumina Matrix Composites with Non-Oxide Nanoparticle Addition and Enhanced Functionalities
Nanomaterials 2015, 5(1), 115-143; doi:10.3390/nano5010115
Received: 18 December 2014 / Revised: 8 January 2015 / Accepted: 15 January 2015 / Published: 27 January 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3684 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The addition of SiC or TiC nanoparticles to polycrystalline alumina matrix has long been known as an efficient way of improving the mechanical properties of alumina-based ceramics, especially strength, creep, and wear resistance. Recently, new types of nano-additives, such as carbon nanotubes [...] Read more.
The addition of SiC or TiC nanoparticles to polycrystalline alumina matrix has long been known as an efficient way of improving the mechanical properties of alumina-based ceramics, especially strength, creep, and wear resistance. Recently, new types of nano-additives, such as carbon nanotubes (CNT), carbon nanofibers (CNF), and graphene sheets have been studied in order not only to improve the mechanical properties, but also to prepare materials with added functionalities, such as thermal and electrical conductivity. This paper provides a concise review of several types of alumina-based nanocomposites, evaluating the efficiency of various preparation methods and additives in terms of their influence on the properties of composites. Full article
Open AccessReview Recent Advances on Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene Reinforced Ceramics Nanocomposites
Nanomaterials 2015, 5(1), 90-114; doi:10.3390/nano5010090
Received: 9 December 2014 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 20 January 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (3248 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ceramics suffer the curse of extreme brittleness and demand new design philosophies and novel concepts of manufacturing to overcome such intrinsic drawbacks, in order to take advantage of most of their excellent properties. This has been one of the foremost challenges for [...] Read more.
Ceramics suffer the curse of extreme brittleness and demand new design philosophies and novel concepts of manufacturing to overcome such intrinsic drawbacks, in order to take advantage of most of their excellent properties. This has been one of the foremost challenges for ceramic material experts. Tailoring the ceramics structures at nanometre level has been a leading research frontier; whilst upgrading via reinforcing ceramic matrices with nanomaterials including the latest carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene has now become an eminent practice for advanced applications. Most recently, several new strategies have indeed improved the properties of the ceramics/CNT nanocomposites, such as by tuning with dopants, new dispersions routes and modified sintering methods. The utilisation of graphene in ceramic nanocomposites, either as a solo reinforcement or as a hybrid with CNTs, is the newest development. This article will summarise the recent advances, key difficulties and potential applications of the ceramics nanocomposites reinforced with CNTs and graphene. Full article

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