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


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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 December 2014

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Emanuel Ionescu
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
Website: http://www.mawi.tu-darmstadt.de/df/dispersefeststoffe/mitarbeiter_2/mitarbeiter_17/mitarbeiter_details_df_2120.de.jsp
E-Mail: ionescu@materials.tu-darmstadt.de
Phone: +49-6151-16-6344
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


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nanomaterials is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


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

Published Papers

No papers have been published in this special issue yet, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: Fundamental Understanding of the High Temperature Stability in Polymer Derived Si-B-C-N Ceramics
Author: Amir Hossein Tavakoli
Affiliation: Peter A Rock Thermochemistry Laboratory and NEAT ORU, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Sustainable development of (multi)functional materials requires probing their structures and properties at the fundamental level. Si-B-C-N polymer derived ceramics (PDCs) are multiphase covalent ceramics/nanocomposites with the dynamic structure that is tunable from fully amorphous to majorly crystalline, depending on the processing temperature. These ceramics are known for their excellent high temperature chemical and structural stability. The underlying cause of their unique thermal stability was a debate for more than a decade after their great high temperature performance was first reported. Over past 10 years, the important steps toward better understanding of the structure and thermal stability of these complex ceramics under influence of boron have been taken. In this short review article, the systematic investigations on Si-B-C-N PDCs that led to a clearer picture of the structure-property relationships above 1000 ˚C have been summarized. Although the new results from the spectroscopic studies are covered in this work, the main focus is on the new findings obtained by the recent kinetic and thermodynamic investigations. In addition, a number of unanswered questions along which the future research needs to be directed are pointed out.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: Alumina Matrix Composites with Non-oxide Nanoparticles Addition and Enhanced Functionalities
Author: Dušan Galusek and Dagmar Galusková
Affiliation: Joint Glass Centre of the IIC SAS, TnU AD and FChPT STU, Trenčín, Slovak Republic
Abstract: The addition of SiC or TiC nanoparticles to polycrystalline alumina matrix has been long known as an efficient way of improving mechanical properties of alumina-based ceramics, especially strength, creep and wear resistance. Recently, new types of (nano)additives, such as carbon nanotubes, carbon nanofibers, and graphene sheets are studied in order to improve not only the mechanical properties, but also to prepare materials with added functionalities, such as thermal and electrical conductivity. The 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.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: Piezoresistive Carbon-Containing Ceramic Nanocomposites
Author: Felix Roth, Norbert Nicoloso, Emanuel Ionescu, Ralf Riedel
Affiliation: Technische Universität Darmstadt, Institute for Materials Science, Jovanka-Bontschits-Strasse 2, D-64287 Darmstadt, Germany
Abstract: Currently there is an urgent need for piezoresistive sensors applicable at high temperatures and in hostile environment, which might be used for instance to optimize combustion processes. Conventional semiconductor sensors fail due to the harsh operation conditions, but certain ceramics, notably nanocomposites with carbon as a second phase, exhibit well-utilizable piezoresistivity even at temperatures beyond 1000 °C. The electrical properties of these materials depend on their chemical composition and microstructure. It will be shown that the different carbon bond states (sp3/sp2) and their local arrangement essentially determine the piezoresistive behavior. The review presents the main classes of carbon-containing nanocomposite materials and highlights in particular their potential for future sensor applications.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: Multifunctional Carbon Nanotube-Ceramic Composites
Author: Lamuel David, Saksham Pahwa, Gurpreet Singh
Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
The unique thermal, electrical and mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes (CNT), combined with their low density have allowed development of a variety of reinforced ceramic composites. Several studies have shown enhancement in the electrical and thermal conductivity, and mechanical toughness in CNT-reinforced ceramics. This paper will focus on recent advances in CNT and their ceramic composites for applications such as high C-rate rechargeable battery electrodes, gas sensors, and thermal coatings etc. In particular, we focus on the structure, processing, and performance of CNT/ceramic shell/core nanowires and CNT reinforced ceramic matrix composites.

Type of Paper: Review
Title: New insights into understanding of irreversible and reversible lithium storage within SiOC and SiCN ceramics
Author: Magdalena Graczyk-Zajac 1, Lukas Mirko Reinold 1, Jan Kaspar 1, V.S. Pradeep 1, Gian-Domenico Soraru 2, Ralf Riedel 1
1 Institute for Materials Science, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Karolinenplatz 5, 64289 Darmstadt, Germany
Materials Engineering and Industrial Technologies, University Trento, via Calepina, 14 I-38122 Trento, Italy
Within this work we analyze which structural properties of the silicon carbonitride (SiCN) and silicon oxycarbide (SiOC) ceramics determine the reversible and irreversible lithium storage capacities, cycling stability and define the major differences in the lithium storage in SiCN and SiOC. Replacing oxygen with nitrogen renders the mixed bond Si-tetrahedra unable to sequester lithium. This explains why a significant difference in electrochemical behavior of carbon-poor SiCN and SiOC materials is found. For carbon-rich ceramics the free carbon phase starts to play a dominant role causing high cycling stability, but also leading both to high irreversible and reversible capacities.

Last update: 8 May 2014

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