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CONTACT: Julie Clausen, 505-844-0948,


CRADA Focuses on New Technology for Manufacturing Ceramics

A cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) to develop improved tech-nologies for manufacturing advanced ceramic components was signed last month in Albuquerque, N.M.

This projected 5-year CRADA features a joint effort between Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Association of American Ceramic Component Manufacturers Consortium I (AACCMCI), Inc.

Ceramic components are traditionally manufactured using empirically engineered processes that are often poorly understood and difficult to control. This cooperative effort will define, develop, and apply science-based process understanding coupled with computer modeling technology to enhance existing manufacturing capabilities. The goal is to develop agile manufacturing technology that will minimize design and development time, reduce manufacturing costs, improve process reliability and yields, and optimize product performance. This technology will also help manufacturers identify and avoid potential problems before they begin making tools and parts.

The worldwide market for ceramics is estimated at $108 billion, with the advanced ceramics industry segment estimated at $21 billion. The United States' share of the advanced ceramics business is estimated at $5.7 billion to 7.5 billion, growing at approximately 10 percent each year. The custom ceramic component industry, which is part of the advanced ceramic market, is estimated to be about $250 million in the United States. The technology developed under this CRADA will expand markets for ceramic components, help create jobs within the United States, and position U.S.-based ceramic component manufacturers to be more competitive in the global market.

Three critical processes in ceramic component manufacturing have been targeted for study in this CRADA: forming by powder compaction, binder burnout, and sintering. Initially, the Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories will team with AACCMCI to define and develop characterization techniques, a computer model, and process maps to better understand and control ceramic powder compaction. The national laboratory researchers will apply advanced process modeling, computer modeling, and materials characterization techniques to the problem. The industry partners will contribute their manufacturing experience and capabilities.

The work will be performed at Sandia's Albuquerque facilities, Los Alamos, and at the manufacturing facilities of the five AACCMCI member companies. The $1 million first-year effort will be funded jointly through in-kind contributions from AACCMCI, and a $500,000 contract to Sandia and Los Alamos from the Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Processes for Economic Competitiveness (AMMPEC) Alliance, Inc.

AACCMCI, Inc., located in Westerville, Ohio, represents a select group of the approximately 40-member Association of American Ceramics Components Manufacturers (AACCM). AACCMCI is made up of five member companies including: Advanced Cerametrics, Inc. of Lambertville, New Jersey; Superior Technical Ceramics Corporation of St. Albans, Vermont; AlSiMag Technical Ceramics, Inc. of Laurens, South Carolina; Delphi Energy and Engine Management Systems of Flint, Michigan; and Zircoa, Inc. of Solon, Ohio.

Membership in the consortium remains open to all U.S.-based ceramic component manufacturers. AACCM was formed in 1992 to expand markets for manufactured ceramic components by enhancing process and product quality and by increasing public and industry awareness of ceramic materials and their applications.

Sandia is a multiprogram DOE laboratory, operated by a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation. With facilities located in Albuquerque, NM, and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national defense, energy, environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Los Alamos is a multi-disciplinary research organization that applies science and technology to vital national security and civilian missions. Expertise in materials science, high-performance computing, and advanced characterization will be utilized in this collaboration. Los Alamos is operated by the University of California for the DOE.

AMMPEC is a nationwide alliance formed in 1992 by New Mexico's national laboratories and universities. AMMPEC has initiated a unique, industrially driven, vertically integrated technology maturation program that leverages materials technology developed in New Mexico to stimulate the growth of regional businesses in geographical areas throughout the nation impacted by defense cutbacks.

Technical Contacts:

Kevin G. Ewsuk, Sandia Ceramic Processing Science Dept. (505) 272-7620/(505) 272-7304 fax email:

Richard Cass, president, AACCMCI (609) 397-2900/(609) 397-2708 fax

William Blumenthal, Los Alamos National Laboratory (505) 667-0986/(505) 667-8021 fax email:

Julie Clausen,

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Last modified: March 29, 1996

Sandia National Laboratories is operated by Lockheed Martin Corp. for the U.S. Department of Energy.