Cutting edge research in ceramics

Ceramic engineering is a multibillion-dollar industry. Its applications span from glass-ceramic cooktops or ceramic knives, through bulletproof vests, all the way to ceramic engines for cars or space shuttle components. During his PhD studies, Naser Hosseini is developing novel ceramic materials that can withstand extreme environments at ultra-high temperatures.

31. 01. 2024 09.00 hod.
By: Naša univerzita magazine staff

Originally from Iran, he studied at the University of Tabiz, ranked among the 5 best comprehensive universities in Iran. After receiving his Master’s degree in Materials Engineering, he spent seven years working as an engineer at a glass production factory and vacuum furnace manufacturing company.

Research calling

In the meantime, he was also interested in tourism, so he obtained a tourist guide license. In addition to his main job, he worked as a tour guide and organized day-long or two-day trips on the weekends for tourists. After meeting his wife, they started a business and established their own travel agency, NashaPersia, for those interested in the nature and culture of Iran.

During the Coronavirus crisis, Naser Hosseini had received an offer from a Professor from a research center in Iran to collaborate on his research. „I was so excited to work in research again. My help to that research group worked and we were able to publish the results in a quality journal. That period of my life was fantastic. I realized how much I have missed research,“ he says.

The path after that was clear. He decided to pursue his PhD. Eventually, he received a PhD grant at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Slovak Academy of Sciences. Recently, Naser Hosseini received two more grants for his research, one of them from the European Ceramic Society as part of his PhD thesis in Genoa, Italy.

Extreme materials

As he was always interested in ceramic materials and even his Master thesis was oriented at high temperature ceramic coatings, Naser Hosseini decided to dedicate his research to it.

Ultra-high temperature ceramics (UHTCs) are materials that melt at temperatures higher than 3000°C. They can easily tolerate extreme environments at temperatures higher than 2000°C for an extended length of time. 3000°C is an extreme temperature when most materials known to man have already melted or decomposed.

„Only about 15 elements or compounds can withstand temperatures higher than 3000°C,“ says Naser Hosseini. These materials are the source of research for extreme environment engineering. Apart from their ability to resist ultra-high temperatures, they possess excellent mechanical properties. These qualities make them perfect candidates for hypersonic vehicles and the aerospace industry.

During the last century, aerospace science has been on the rise. „I love traveling and discovering the world. Working on this kind of material is also contributing to discovering the world, space, and new planets,“ says Naser.

Future for space exploration

In his PhD thesis, Naser Hosseini is working on developing new ultra-high temperature ceramic materials under his mentor, Dr. Peter Tatarko. These particular materials are also known as high entropy ceramics which are a very new field and the edge of knowledge. „One limitation of advanced ceramic materials is fabricating them at a large scale and a complex shape,“ says Naser.

This can be solved by sintering of small size and simple shape and later joining them into large and complex shapes of ceramic materials. Development of a new technique for joining these novel ceramic materials to themselves is also a part of his thesis. This new knowledge will open new possibilities, for instance, in hypersonic vehicles.

Lenka Miller