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Improved thermal-shock resistance in industrial ceramics

Ceramic materials are used in nuclear, chemical and electrical power generation industries because of their ability to withstand extreme environments. However, at high temperatures, ceramics are susceptible to thermal-shock fractures caused by rapid temperature-changing events, such as cold water droplet contact with hot surfaces. In a novel interdisciplinary approach, engineers report the use of a cheap, simple, water-repelling coating to prevent thermal shock in ceramics.

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Researchers unravel the path of electrical discharges on phenomenally small scales

Innovations on the microscale depend on understanding the behavior of electricity on the smallest of length scales. Scientists have a good grasp of 'electrical breakdown,' when electricity jumps across large gaps and creates plasma; however, researchers have had little insight into the behavior of electricity as it jumps across very small gaps until now. A team reports research that shines light on electrical breakdown for the smallest gap distances ever studied: five to 10 microns.

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