Advanced Ceramic Composite & Coating

Through materials engineering based on elements doping and fiber incorporation, the team developed a series of novel ceramic materials formulations and growth/coating processes for various applications from aerospace, marine & offshore, defence, urban sustainability to biomedical industries. By improving/tuning the physical and mechanical properties of ceramic materials, the functional coatings and ceramic composite components show enhanced thermal, mechanical, optical and electrical properties.

Materials of interest:

  • Ceramic oxides
  • Ceramic carbides & nitrides
  • Ceramic composites


1. Ceramic composite synthesis and sintering

  • Nano-size particle mill
  • Planetary Centrifugal Vacuum Mixer
  • 3D printing of ceramic composites
  • Gas protective/vacuum tube furnace (up to 1200 oC)
  • Hybrid microwave assist furnace (Carbolite, up to 1600 oC)
  • In-situ high temperature furnace (TOMMI, up to 1750 oC)
  • High-speed spark plasma sintering (SPS) (Ed-Pas III, up to 2800 oC)

2. Thin film growth & coating techniques

  • Electron-beam evaporation
  • Combinatorial ultra-high vacuum (UHV) pulsed laser deposition (PLD)
  • High temperature ultra-high vacuum (UHV) sputtering with surface treatment & characterization (XPS)
  • Thermal spray coatings: atmospheric plasma spray (APS) & High velocity oxy-fuel spray (HVOF)

3. Smart energy saving & self-cleaning coatings

  • Transparent conductive coatings
  • Multi-functional heat rejection coating
  • Smart thermo-chromic (TC) coating
  • Visible light photocatalytic self-cleaning coating

4. Surface enhancement & protective coatings

  • Direct surface plasma oxidation & nitridation
  • Plasma Electrolyte Oxidation (PEO) coatings
  • Thermal barrier coatings
  • Wear resistance coatings
  • Corrosion resistant coatings

5. Unique materials characterization techniques

  • Mechanical  properties: hardness, wear, friction & fatigue 
  • Thermal stability: in-situ high temperature XRD (up to 1200 oC) & in-situ high temperature furnace  (up to 1750 oC)
  • Stress measurement: x-ray stress analyser & centre hole drilling
  • Optical properties: temperature dependent  IR-VASE Spectroscopic Ellipsometer (2 to 30 microns)
  • Corrosion testing: salt spraying, solution-based electrochemical testing & hot corrosion testing in reactive gas (ASTM standard testing or customized research under unique condition)

Highlights / Achievements (list of selected patents)

  • Method to fabricate highly conducting and transparent zinc oxide at room temperature
  • Method of improving the transparency and conductivity of transparent conducting oxide for various applications
  • Multi-functional heat rejection coatings
  • Method of treating thermal barrier coating
  • Large area layer controlled growth of transition-metal chalcogenides
  • Carbon nanotubes reinforced wear resistant ceramic coating