The Ceramic Technology Project was initiated in 1983 for the purpose of developing highly reliable structural ceramics for applications in advanced heat engines, such as the automotive gas turbines and advanced heavy duty diesel engines. The reliability problem was determined to be a result of uncontrolled populations of processing flaws in the brittle, flaw-sensitive materials, along with microstructural features, such as grain boundary phases, that contribute to time dependent strength reduction in service at high temperatures. The approach taken to develop high reliability ceramics included the development of tougher materials with greater tolerance to microstructural flaws, the development of advanced processing technology to minimize the size and number of flaws, and the development of mechanical testing methodology and the characterization of time dependent mechanical behavior, leading to a life prediction methodology for structural ceramics.

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