Friday, March 07, 2008

The Pressure Is On For Ceramics

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In the early 1980s, buzz grew loud around the use of ceramics in motor vehicles. Given advances in the technology, certain experts argued, it would not be too long before entire engines could be mass-produced from the hard, heat-resistant material.

Those experts were wrong. "The performance characteristics of an 'all-ceramic' engine are not that attractive, really," says John Heywood, a professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Still, as automakers struggle to go easier on the environment, more ceramics will end up in cars, particularly for emissions control and cutting the weight of components. Publicly traded participants in the ceramics business, notably Ceradyne (nasdaq: CRDN) and Japan's Kyocera, stand to benefit.

Full story at Forbes.com