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Faculty member receives $254,000 NSF grant (Released: 2/9/96)

by David Pesci, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- Nitin P. Padture, an assistant professor in the Department of Metallurgy and the Institute of Materials Science at the University of Connecticut, has received a three-year grant of $254,700 from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The grant will support his study of fundamental aspects of a new in-situ processing method to fabricate tough ceramic composites in silicon carbide -- one of the most widely used structural ceramics. This method is a low-cost, environmentally safe process where microscopic grain-reinforcements evolve within the material during heat treatment.

These reinforcements impede potentially dangerous cracks introduced in the material during service and impart otherwise brittle ceramic with quasi-ductility -- an important result published in the journal Science. With the help of this grant, Padture and two graduate students plan to carry out model experiments to understand the fundamental mechanisms governing the in-situ process. This understanding will allow better manipulation of the microstructures, enabling users to tailor the mechanical properties of these ceramics for a specific application.

Padture, a UConn faculty member since January 1995, received his Ph.D. from Lehigh University and spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. His research interests lie in the area of processing and mechanical behavior of advanced ceramics and composites. He has published 27 papers on referred journals on this subject.

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