An anonymous reader writes: Researchers have used a 3-D printer to make specialized ceramic parts that have overcome one of the biggest problems with ceramic objects: their tendency to crack. This new method is 100 to 1,000 times faster than previous 3D-ceramic-printing techniques, the researchers said. Furthermore, electron microscopy of the end products detected none of the porosity or surface cracks that normally weaken ceramics; indeed, these silicon carbide materials were 10 times stronger than commercially available ceramic foams of similar density, the scientists noted. "If you go very fast, about 10 times speed of sound within the atmosphere, then any vehicle will heat up tremendously because of air friction," said Tobias Schaedler, senior scientist at HRL Laboratories in Malibu, Calif. "People want to build hypersonic vehicles and you need ceramics for the whole shell of the vehicle."
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