Ceramic Materials with Improved Mechanical Properties and Electrical Conductivity

Tech ID: 23600 / UC Case 2003-299-0


Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a ceramic composite material with improved mechanical properties and electrical conductivity.

Full Description

Ceramic materials are widely utilized in environments of extreme temperature, mechanical stress, and chemic reactivity. Unfortunately, ceramics suffer from brittleness, and are electrical insulators, limiting their use in electronic devices. However, carbon nanotubes, which are known to have high stiffness and strength, have been explored as fillers to improve the mechanical properties of ceramics.

Researchers at UC Davis have developed a ceramic composite material that includes single-wall carbon nanotubes as a filler. Interspersing the nanotubes throughout the matrix results in a material that exhibits high electrical conductivity and superior mechanical properties, including high fracture toughness. In addition, the process developed for manufacturing this material enables the nanotubes to be interspersed at a high density, yet with a reduced manufacturing time relative to other methods.

The combination of improvements described above yields a material that is suitable for use in electrical devices, systems, and applications that operate in extreme environments and where low failure rates are critical.


  • Any application where it is desirable to have an electrical conductor operating under conditions of high mechanical, thermal, or chemical stress.
  • Examples:

o   Heat engines

o   Cutting tools

o   Spacecraft

o   Wear and friction surfaces

o   Nanoscale electronics

o   Microelectromechanical systems


  • Improved mechanical properties, including high fracture toughness
  • High electrical conductivity
  • Manufacturing process is capable of interspersing nanotubes at high density, and takes lesstime than previous methods

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 6,875,374 04/05/2005 2003-299


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  • Kuntz, Joshua D.
  • Mukherjee, Amiya K.
  • Zhan, Guodong

Other Information


Ceramics, Composites, Carbon, Electrical Conductivity, Materials, Nanomaterials, Single-Wall, Nanotubes

Categorized As