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Air Force

Interface-controlled nano-materials

Precisely and uniformly-coated nanophase materials that are easy to design and may be manufactured in bulk quantities at low cost

Materials
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Advanced nanophase materials that are highly customizable and enable the low-cost production of materials previously only available in small quantities due to expensive manufacturing requirements

Air Force researchers have developed Interface-controlled nano-materials (ICNM) for use in a variety of applications. This invention offers unprecedented opportunities to inexpensively fabricate bulk quantities of materials that currently exist only as small research samples. A key feature is extensive abilities to design, control, and optimize the composition and properties of materials by focusing on the interfaces, instead of the nanograins. ICNM can be used on interfaces between the nanophase grains, between the nanophase particle and a coating, between coating layers on particles, or between coated nanophase particles.

The ICNM approach enables the low-cost bulk fabrication of materials that were previously only produced via expensive techniques such as electro- or electroless deposition, physical vapor deposition, laser ablation, or magnetron sputtering. ICNM can also achieve unique gains in high-temperature oxidation and reaction stability. The approach places nanoparticle and coating materials in intimate contact with one another and minimizes grain growth up to near theoretical density. The result is improved thermal shock resistance. Applications of ICNM include such diverse fields as fast ion conductors, magnetostrictive materials, superconductors, and environmental barrier materials.

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