Technology

cerablak tem cross section

Cerablak™ technology is embodied by unique molecular chemistry relevant to ultra-high-temperature performance. It all starts with our proprietary chemical formulations. These formulations consist of uniquely-designed polymeric species (Al-P-O-coordinated) that decompose upon thermal pyrolysis to yield an amorphous glass material that resists crystallization even above 1400°C in air and can be made over a wide range of aluminophosphate and doped chemical compositions. The resistance to crystallization is due to sluggish kinetics or atom diffusivity, which also serves to provide excellent barrier properties at elevated temperatures for gaseous, molecular, or ionic species. High-temperature performance is key to functional products in aerospace, energy, defense, industrial manufacturing, and even consumer products like appliances.

 

 

The Cerablak™ chemical formulation is shelf-stable under ambient conditions and can be used to synthesize various high-value product forms, including thin and thick barrier films, ceramic microballoons, or even bulk ceramic matrix composites. ATFI has initiated product trials with established Fortune 100 OEMs for many of these product forms leading to validated field performance in several cases. Other salient technical features about Cerablak™ technology are highlighted below:

 



Cerablak TEM sectionMolecular Design
The backbone of the Cerablak™ glassy material is based on a phosphate network structure incorporating aluminum and oxygen atoms which are essentially responsible for low diffusion at high temperatures. Conventional aluminum phosphates only contain Al-O-P bonds. Cerablak™ compositions, in addition, contain Al-O-Al bonds that are designed at the precursor level and retained through pyrolysis. In addition, the formulation is processed to have excellent film-forming ability to yield hermetic-quality coverage on most substrates. 


 
Nano-encapsulated Carbon

The name “Cerablak™” was coined after the natural black appearance of the Cerablak™ powder derived from pyrolysis of the chemical formulation. That color is attributed to very small amounts of nano-sized carbon encapsulated within the aluminum phosphate glass. As such, carbon is known to oxidize readily above 600°C in air via formation of CO/CO2, but in this case the carbon is well-protected by the surrounding glass material. The presence of nano-scale carbon can provide special benefits such as high emissivity (see Cerablak® HTP). Cerablak® surface treatments can be utilized with or without encapsulated carbon as needed, and are transparent when utilized as thin films, while they are white to black in powder or bulk material form.

 
Cerablak TEM section 2

Nano-engineered Surfaces
Cerablak® barrier films as thin as 100 nanometers can provide longstanding environmental protection because of their hermetic quality and dense nature with excellent conformal coverage on substrate surfaces. Cerablak® UTF layers deposited on metal alloy surfaces, for example, can protect the bulk structure against harmful environmental degradation over a broad range of temperatures.

 

In addition, our Cerablak® HTP coating products contain nano-sized carbon (5-40 nm) encapsulated in glass which provides enhanced high-temperature emissivity for effectively blocking thermal radiation.


 
Versatile Platform Technology
Multifunctionality along with suitable processing are important characteristics for barrier films to be of practical use, and in this regard, there is simply no match to the comprehensive capabilities of Cerablak™ technology. Based on the versatile and broad compositional range, Cerablak™ materials can be synthesized into various product forms that include thin and thick coatings, sealants, microballoons, and composites.