Argonne National Laboratory researcher Arun Wagh has written the book on chemically bonded ceramics — literally. Wagh, an award-winning inventor, is the author of “Chemically Bonded Phosphate Ceramics,” which summarizes the wide ranging body of research on these materials.
Chemically bonded phosphate ceramics (CBPCs) are formed by chemical reactions, whereas other ceramics are formed by sintering at temperatures between 700 and 2,000 degrees C. Much of the research on CBPCs has been conducted at Argonne and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The research for the book began 12 years ago when materials researchers at Argonne seized upon CBPCs as a potential material for encapsulating and stabilizing radioactive waste. They developed a ceramic called Ceramicrete, which was recognized by an R&D 100 award as one of the 100 most technologically significant products in 1996. The material won another R&D 100 award in 2004 for its use in low-cost housing.
Previously, the use of these ceramics had been confined to dental cements. Now their potential is being explored in diverse applications, including oil well cements, waste-containment materials, and inexpensive, spray-on housing materials.
The book, which is published by Elsevier, includes forewords by Rustum Roy, an eminent scientist and professor from Penn State University , and Boris Myasoedov, Deputy Secretary General for Science at the Russian Academy of Science. Wagh's Russian colleagues have proposed a Russian translation of the book.
Wagh said his book, by shaping the scattered research on CBPCs into a cohesive narrative, will help establish these ceramics as an important research subject worldwide.
When asked where future research might lead, Wagh made a sweeping gesture across the periodic table. “You can look all over [for new kinds of CBPCs]” he said, implying that his book is by no means the end of the story.
The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory conducts basic and applied scientific research across a wide spectrum of disciplines, ranging from high-energy physics to climatology and biotechnology. Since 1990, Argonne has worked with more than 600 companies and numerous federal agencies and other organizations to help advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for the future. Argonne is operated by the University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.