Research Infrastructure

The research infrastructure of the laboratory in it’s two basic research directions is such that allows the independent conduction of applied scientific research not only in material synthesis and characterization but also in application testing of prototype devices made by the materials under investigation.

Research Direction A: Ceramic Membranes:

Besides classical instrumentation and glassware for membrane synthesis the laboratory possesses controlled climate chambers for the reproducible synthesis of the sensitive nanoporous or microporous structures, a complete gas separation unit with gas chromatography as well as two pilot-scale units for liquid treatment membrane experiments.

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Figure II.3.3: Climate chambers (a), gas separation cell (b), automatized gas separation unit with GC (c), large surface tubular membrane samples (d) and liquid treatment pilot-scale unit (e) as examples for the membrane research infrastructure.

Research Direction B: Electronic Ceramics:

A so-called “powder technology lab” in the laboratory provides all necessary processing equipment (mixing, firing, milling, granulating) for the synthesis of polycrystalline electronic ceramics. Perhaps the most sophisticated equipment is the computer controllable furnaces able to fire under programmable partial pressures of oxygen for the manufacturing of tailor made defect structures on oxygen vacancies. For the electromagnetic evaluation of samples small prototype capacitive or inductive components are measured in a tailor made unit consisting of amplifiers, oscilloscope, LCR meter and frequency generator, as a function of temperature and alternating current frequency in a specially constructed temperature chamber.

Figure II.3.4: The powder technology lab (top left), an atmosphere controllable furnace (top right) and the electromagnetic evaluation unit (bottom) as examples of the electronic ceramics research infrastructure

Research Direction I:

For the catalytic testing of oxygen deficient materials in the water decomposition reaction an experimental unit equipped with a mass spectrometer is available.

Figure II.3.5: Experimental unit for testing catalytic activity in relation to the water decomposition reaction

Characterization:

The laboratory possesses its own instrumentation for several general materials characterization techniques such as dilatometry, theoretical density, optical microscopy, rheological properties etc. However it has direct access to all horizontal institute’s instrumentation that is located to the laboratory of analysis and characterization of solids which is also at the same location. Those include almost all conventional techniques such as chemical analysis (e.g. ICP), thermal analysis (e.g. TGA/DSC) or structural analysis techniques (XRD), particle size analysis, nitrogen porosimetry and some quite advanced techniques such as scanning or high resolution transmission electron microscopy, both equipped with energy dispersive analysis of X-rays for local chemical analysis purposes.

Figure II.3.5: Laboratory’s own characterization equipment: dilatometer (top left), rheological properties (top right), optical microscope (middle left), helium density determination (middle right), powder morphological properties (bottom)