With a "pinch" of salt - New method of manufacturing MAX phases
Modern materials are often exposed to extraordinary loads. In order to achieve the best results in their field of application, they must combine a wide variety of characteristics. For example, metals used in an aircraft engine must be highly stable and heat-resistant at the same time as being easy to shape. MAX-phase materials combine these and other qualities. In order to be able to use MAX phases industrially, scientists of the team around JARA-ENERGY member Prof. Olivier Guillon have developed a new manufacturing process.
Temperatures of 1000 degrees are required for the production of MAX phases. In order to protect the raw material from oxidation, a vacuum or a protective atmosphere of argon was previously required. This circumstance resulted in high manufacturing costs.
The new manufacturing process is much more effective: the raw material is coated with a layer of salt and potassium bromide. The coating protects the material from oxidation and can be easily washed off afterwards. In addition, the salt acts as a release agent. The different components do not bond together during the process, which makes it possible to produce fine powder. Powder is ideal for industrial processing.