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CODE 65943
SEMESTER 1° Semester


The course is an introduction to the preparation, properties, structure and applications of ceramic materials. Chemical transformations and lattice defects are also considered, in view of microstructure and functional properties optimization. The second part of the course covers ceramic materials used in solid oxide fuel cells and electrolyzers,  with a detailed description of the structural requirements and of the ionic conductivity of the state-of-art materials. The course language is Italian, while slides and bibliography are in English.



Crystal structure of ceramic. Phase diagrams for ceramist. Sintering. Synthesis of highly dispersed ceramic materials. Dense ceramic materials. Structural, electronic and thermal properties. Defects and thermodynamic control of vacancy concentration. Functional properties (electric, magnetic and environmental). Ceramic process and industrial applications


The frequency and active participation in the proposed training activities (lectures, exercises and numerical exercises) and individual study will allow the student to:

  • learn about the different types of ceramic materials, in particular those used in energy transformation and storage
  • define the parameters of a forming and sintering process
  • know the correlation between structure and microstructure and mechanical and functional properties (mechanical resistance, electrical conductivity, thermal, magnetic and optical properties) of ceramics
  • know the main chemical-physical investigation techniques and be able to apply them critically to the specific problem


Basic Chemistry, Mathematic, Physic


Frontal teaching, class and laboratory training. Microsoft Teams will be used in case of remote teaching.

In the first semester 2021, updates will be released through the UniGe website.

Students who have valid certification of physical or learning disabilities on file with the University and who wish to discuss possible accommodations or other circumstances regarding lectures, coursework and exams, should speak both with the instructor and with Professor Federico Scarpa ( ), the Polytechnic School's disability liaison.


Definition of ceramic material, classification (traditional and advanced ceramics), general characteristics of ceramics, phases of the ceramic process.

Structural properties: main crystal structures, bonds, Pauling rules.

Glass: structure, Zachariasen rules, forming oxides and modifying oxides. Glass formation, effect of composition on mechanical properties. and functional, nucleation and growth, glass ceramics.

Phase diagrams: references to the phase and leverage rules, single-component systems, binary systems, ternary systems, leverage rule in systems. ternaries, composition - free energy and temperature diagrams. Cases of binary diagrams of interest to the ceramist. Isopletal studies in cooling and heating in ternary diagrams of major interest.

Ceramic process: powder preparation methods, grinding, analysis of particle size and size distribution, powder compaction for advanced refractory ceramics.

Stability of suspensions, wetting agents, additives. General forming principles. Drying, debonding and firing.

Densification and coarsening of grains: transport mechanisms in the initial phase of sintering. Intermediate and final phases of sintering, grain growth and elimination of pores. Sintering in the presence of liquid phases.

Mechanical properties: brittle fracture, Weibull statistics. Strengthening methods. Thermal, dielectric, magnetic and optical properties of ceramics.

Defect chemistry, Kroger-Vink notation and formulation of reaction equations. Thermodynamic control of vacancy concentration. Electrical conductivity in ceramics.

Advanced ceramic materials for energy conversion and storage:

  • high temperature ceramics (gas turbines)
  • ceramics in the nuclear fuel cycle
  • ceramics for photovoltaics and photo-catalysis
  • piezoelectric
  • eramic membranes for gas separation
  • fuel cells and solid oxide electrolysers

Laboratory training: green forming, thermogravimetry, dilatometry, SEM



W.D. Kingery, H.K. Bowen, D.R. Uhlmann, Introduction to Ceramics, John Wiley & Sons.

A.J. Moulson & J.M. Herbert, Electroceramics, Chapman & Hall.

M.W. Barsoum,  Fundamentals of Ceramics

Y M  Chiang, D. Birnie III, W. D. Kyngery , Physical Ceramics

Introduction to Phase Equilibria in Ceramics

J.S. Reed, Principles of Ceramic Processing

  • Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, Materials Properties and Performance, CRC Press, Edited by J. W. Fergus et al.
  • Fuel Cell Systems, Plenum Press, Edited by L. J. M. J. Blomen and M. N. Mugerwa



Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



The final exam consists both of a written and an oral test, with the aim of assessing the training objectives achievement. The written test proposes questions and exercises on topics carried out during the class. The oral examination consists of a topic presentation chosen by the candidate and the formulation of a question by the examiner.

Students with SLD, disability or other special educational needs certification are advised to contact the teacher at the beginning of the course to agree on teaching and exam methods that, in compliance with the teaching objectives, take into account the modalities learning opportunities and provide suitable compensatory tools.


The exam is designed to verify the student's knowledge of the main characteristics of ceramic materials and the understanding of the relationships between chemical composition, structure and microstructure, parameters of the production process and the mechanical and functional properties of the materials. The clarity and precision of the exhibition, the knowledge and understanding of the topics presented, as well as the student's ability to make a choice between different materials or to make change in the production process to obtain desired performance or behavior will be assessed.


Unless otherwise indicated by the University or Council Course Study, the frontal teaching will be carried out through Teams.

In the first semester, laboratory activity is subject to university requirements.

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Affordable and clean energy
Affordable and clean energy
Climate action
Climate action