A Historical Perspective on Research Related to Ultra-High Temperature Ceramics


Research on boride and carbide ceramics experienced significant growth during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Interest in these materials was motivated primarily by aerospace applications associated with hypersonic aviation, atmospheric re-entry, and rocket propulsion, but these materials have also been examined for other uses related to molten metal handling, high temperature electrodes, and advanced nuclear reactors. This is not the first wave of interest in the refractory boride and carbide ceramics, which were previously researched extensively in the 1960s and 1970s. The purpose of this chapter is to review historic studies on this class of materials that were performed in the United States up through the end of the 1970s. These studies began in the early 1960s as part of the space race. During this era, researchers in the U.S. and Soviet Union were searching for materials that could be used to design and construct space vehicles. The sections that follow review the origin of the name Ultra-High temperature ceramics (UHTCs), early research on boride and carbide materials from around the globe, the initial search in the U.S. for materials that could withstand the extreme environments associated with rocket propulsion and atmospheric re-entry, and the detailed research on boride ceramics that was funded by the U.S. Air Force.


Materials Science and Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Boride ceramics; Historic studies; Ultra-High temperature ceramics

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

978-1118700853; 978-1118700785

Document Type

Book - Chapter

Document Version


File Type





© 2014 Wiley Blackwell, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2014