Selection, processing, properties and applications of ultra-high temperature ceramic matrix composites, UHTCMCs – a review

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Composites are, in general, a rapidly evolving and growing technical field with a very wide range of applications across the aerospace, defence, energy, medical and transport sectors as a result of their superior mechanical and physical properties. Ultra-high temperature ceramic matrix composites, UHTCMCs, are a new subfield within the wider grouping of CMCs that offer applications in rocket and hypersonic vehicle components, particularly nozzles, leading edges and engine components. The design and development of structural materials for use in oxidising and rapid heating environments at temperatures above 1600°C is therefore of both great scientific and engineering importance. UHTC materials are typically considered to be the carbides, nitrides, and borides of the transition metals, but the Group IV compounds (Zr, Hf & Ti) plus TaC are generally onsidered to be the main focus of research due to the superior melting temperatures and stable high-melting temperature oxide that forms in situ. The combination of properties makes these materials potential candidates for a variety of high-temperature structural applications, including engines, hypersonic vehicles, plasma arc electrodes, advanced nuclear fuels, fusion first walls and diverters, cutting tools, furnace elements and high-temperature shielding. This review presents the selection, processing, properties, applications, outlook and future directions of UHTCMCs.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages56
JournalInternational Materials Reviews
Early online date16 Sep 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Sep 2019


  • Ultra high-temperature ceramics, composites;, review;, matrix;, fibre;, chemical vapour infiltration, impregnation;, oxidation;, ablation;, microstructure