Materials for application in the extreme environment are usually manmade materials which are obtained by complicated processes. The first step towards fabrication of the material with desired final properties in our Laboratory is the synthesis of the starting material, normally powder, from appropriate precursors. Various methods such as reactions in solid, liquid, vapor, or combined phases are used for this purpose. These reactions, as well as further treatments of the starting material, take place at different temperatures and different environments such as vacuum, air, or inert gas. At our disposal is also equipment for starting material homogenization and shaping. Mechanical pressing, slip casting, and freeze-drying are some of the most convenient techniques for the fabrication of complex shape parts, which subsequently undergo thermal treatment (sintering). In some cases, the starting material can be simply melted and cast in appropriate molds. The above-mentioned thermal treatment is generally done under specific conditions such as at high temperature, inert atmosphere, and high pressure. The equipment located in our Laboratory fulfills all these requirements. Laboratory furnaces can reach the temperature as high as 2200 oC, which is sufficiently high for the fabrication of materials possessing a very high melting point. Another advantage of these furnaces is the simultaneous application of high temperature and high mechanical pressure which allows fabrication of high-density materials with microstructure providing superior properties and enabling their wide application. In summary, the Laboratory for processing and synthesis covers the complete process of fabrication of metals, ceramics, and carbon materials.
Head of the laboratory
Dr. Jelena Maletaškić