FAST Ceramics to develop new, low-energy, low-temp ceramics manufacture process

By: InnovatioNews Friday August 30, 2013 0 comments Tags: Boulder, CU-Boulder, FAST Ceramics, John Francis, Marco Cologna, Molly Markley, Rishi Raj, sintering

BOULDER -- FAST Ceramics and the University of Colorado have completed an exclusive option agreement to allow the company to develop a faster, energy-efficient technique for manufacturing ceramic materials for aerospace, medical implants, military armor and a wide variety of technical applications, FAST and CU announced.

Ceramic materials are made by sintering, or solidifying ceramic powders at high temperatures in a process that is extremely energy intensive, FAST said. But a new technique developed by a research group at CU's Boulder campus works by applying an electrical field during the sintering process, which requires significantly less energy and lower temperatures.

The process is called Field-Assisted Sintering Technology, or FAST. The technology was developed by Rishi Raj, a professor in CU-Boulder's mechanical engineering department with assistance from researchers John Francis and Marco Cologna.

"We are developing technology that could potentially revolutionize the way that ceramics are manufactured in the future,"said Francis, FAST Ceramics president.

The company is currently working with a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation to help develop a new, single-step, flash-sintering process for use in solid oxide fuel cells.

"The FAST sintering technique represents an impressive leap forward in ceramic manufacturing," said Molly Markley of the CU Technology Transfer Office. "The process could have wide applicability across the industry, and we're eager to see FAST Ceramics further develop and implement this technology.

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