The European Ceramic Society


Oct 12, 2022

YCN Newsletter 14 : In the research for new properties of zirconia matrix composites by Carmen Muñoz Ferreiro

3Y-TZP (3 mol% yttria stabilized tetragonal zirconia polycrystals) is a well-known ceramic for its high strength and fracture toughness, along with its biocompatibility.

Many efforts are being done to increase its mechanical reliability by, for example, developing new composites. But what if, in fact, we could give ceramics new properties instead of just improving what they already are good at?

My work focuses on the development of new zirconia matrix composites by the incorporation of two-dimensional nanomaterials. The secondary phase could provide the composite with electrical or thermal conductivity. But not only that, because of the 2D morphology, by using the right manufacturing technology we could tailor the composite properties into a direction oriented or gradient. However, the mechanical performance of the materials cannot be compromised under high solicitations if we want them for a long-term use.

That is why, this PhD research project is performed under the basis of an international jointly-supervised thesis. So far, at the PMS group from the University of Seville (Spain), we have developed the above-mentioned composites using two different fillers: graphene and boron nitride nanosheets. A variety of processing and sintering routines were studied to attain the best microstructure and properties. The amount, shape or crystallinity of the 2D nanomaterials directly affect the composite final performance, so a deep knowledge of the material will enable us to tailor them for specific applications. Recent results have shown that graphene/zirconia composites have promising electrical properties that many applications could take advantage from. But, as I already said, we cannot have one in detriment of the other if we want a multifunctional zirconia-based composite. So currently, we are exploring the mechanical response of the composites at MATEIS laboratory, based in INSA Lyon (France). We seek a proper understanding of the failure mechanisms in these kind of ceramic matrix composites and their correlation with their microstructure.

New results come from new insight, and in such an interdisciplinary field one should be open to listen to different perspectives. So, I am willing to discuss our work with anyone interested in it, one could never know what new applications are suitable for such materials. And of course, if you are planning or starting a jointly-supervised thesis, I am happy if my experience could be of any help, maybe by giving a few tips on how to manage it or get some funding. I any case, do not hesitate to contact me online or in the next in-person ceramic meeting. Creating a network of people just like you that also work in the ceramic field is also very important in our career. And I am more than happy to say that attending to the Krakow event “Ceramics in Europe” not only met with my expectations of the high-level science I wanted to learn from, but led me to meet great people, from young to senior researchers, that otherwise I would have never had the chance to cross. So, I hope that we can personally meet in the next ECerS Conference and let good collaborations begin.


Carmen Muñoz Ferreiro


Department of Condensed Matter Physics

Universidad de Sevilla

Seville, Spain


MATEIS laboratory


Villeurbanne, France


Last news

Oct 6, 2023
YCN Newsletter 18 - New YCN Representative call

You can now apply to the YCN Representative position here! Deadline for applications is October 31st 2023.

Oct 6, 2023
Next Deadline to apply to the JECS Trust is 30th November 2023!

Please note that the decisions of the JECS Trust board will not be known before end of February 2024. Activities submitted for the deadline of 30th November 2023 for support from the JECS Trust should then not begin before mid-March 2024.


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