Students may pursue M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in ceramic and materials science. In this option, the thesis work emphasizes the fundamental aspects of material behavior. Alternatively, students can arrange M.S. and Ph.D. programs in ceramic and materials engineering. Here, the thesis focuses on engineering and developmental aspects of materials. Students with full-time jobs in industry can arrange master`s degree programs without a thesis, emphasizing manufacturing. The curriculum includes business- and industrial-engineering courses.
Areas of specialization in ceramics include the following: fiber optics; structure and properties of glass; relation of microstructure and properties of ceramic materials; sintering mechanisms; rheology of slips; slip casting; preparation and properties of ceramic powders; dielectric materials, including ferroelectric, piezoelectric, and ferromagnetic ceramics; sol-gel processing; thin films; high- temperature materials; strength, toughening, and impact resistance; ceramic-metal systems and composites; nanotechnology; and biomaterials.
The facilities of the program include approximately 25,000 square feet of well-equipped laboratories. Students will have access to a field-emission scanning electron microscope; a high- resolution TEM Raman microprobe; FITR; a Thermoanalyzer; induction-coupled plasma (ICP unit); X-ray diffraction equipment; X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy equipment; a hot isostatic press; a pressure caster; mechanical testing machines; and SEMs.
The focus of much of the research is on the science and technology of synthesizing advanced ceramic materials. Processing ceramics from powders includes synthesis and characterization of powders, green forming (slip casting, tape casting, rapid prototype methods, injection molding, and spray drying/powder compaction), and densification of powder preforms (sintering, hot pressing, hot isostatic pressing, and preceramic polymer pyrolysis). In addition, ceramics are synthesized directly from sol-gels and used for coatings, filters, and battery components. Ceramics may be characterized mechanically, electrically, and thermally. Students will study surfaces using scanning tunneling microscopes and atomic force microscopes and by employing computer simulations using molecular dynamics. Ceramic composites are being studied to develop stronger, tougher ceramics. Ceramics with nanocrystalline microstructures are being studied. Dielectric, ferroelectric, piezoelectric, and other active/functional materials are being developed for electronic substrates, capacitors, actuators, sensors, and smart/intelligent materials.
Graduate assistantships and fellowships are available for both first-year and advanced graduate students. Generally, all full-time doctoral students receive financial support and tuition remission. Support usually is associated with sponsoring grants or contracts. Further information may be found on the program web site.
A prospective Ph.D. candidate must spend a minimum of one academic year in residence as a full-time student taking courses or pursuing research.
Academic and research training in packaging science and engineering is available in this program. For further information, see the packaging science and engineering courses and program description in this section under Packaging Science and Engineering.