Composite materials topics at Texas Materials Institute

Composite materials encompass a broad range of polymeric, ceramic, and metallic materials which consist of two or more distinct phases. Unique physical, mechanical, and electrical properties are achieved by combining phases in the desired architecture allowing the development of improved materials. Research on Composites is currently under way at the Texas Materials Institute in the following thrust areas:

Polymer matrix composites
Polymer-matrix composites are used in a host of applications from microscopic sensors to large structural members used in aerospace components. TMI researchers are involved in the characterization of existing polymer composties as well as the development of improved composites. Current projects include studies of the long term durability of composties used in the microelectronic industry and in the oil and gas industry. Novel polymer/ceramic superconductor composites are also being developed for use as optical sensors.

Ceramic matrix composites
The processing and properties of low-cost ceramic laminates as a replacement for fiber reinforced ceramic are being investigated. Synthesis is being performed of several transition metal oxides that find potential application as electrode materials for rechargeable lithium batteries. The materials obtained by the solution-based routes exhibit high storage capacity and energy density with excellent electrochemical cyclability. Investigations of the properties of novel oxides for use in fuel cells are also underway.

Metal matrix composites
Properties and process of metallic nanocomposites exhibiting a combination of low thermal expansion and high electrical and thermal conductivities are being investigated. The room temperature and elevated temperature performance of metal matrix composites for use in structural applications is also being investigated.

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