Exploding and weeping ceramics

Hanlin Gu, Jascha Rohmer, Justin Jetter, Andriy Lotnyk, Lorenz Kienle, Eckhard Quandt, Richard D. James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The systematic tuning of crystal lattice parameters to achieve improved kinematic compatibility between different phases is a broadly effective strategy for improving the reversibility, and lowering the hysteresis, of solid–solid phase transformations1–11. (Kinematic compatibility refers to the fitting together of the phases.) Here we present an apparently paradoxical example in which tuning to near perfect kinematic compatibility results in an unusually high degree of irreversibility. Specifically, when cooling the kinematically compatible ceramic (Zr/Hf)O2(YNb)O4 through its tetragonal-to-monoclinic phase transformation, the polycrystal slowly and steadily falls apart at its grain boundaries (a process we term weeping) or even explosively disintegrates. If instead we tune the lattice parameters to satisfy a stronger ‘equidistance’ condition (which additionally takes into account sample shape), the resulting material exhibits reversible behaviour with low hysteresis. These results show that a diversity of behaviours—from reversible at one extreme to explosive at the other—is possible in a chemically homogeneous ceramic system by manipulating conditions of compatibility in unexpected ways. These concepts could prove critical in the current search for a shape-memory oxide ceramic9–12.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-420
Number of pages5
Issue number7885
StatePublished - Nov 18 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements R.D.J. and H.G. were supported by the NSF (DMREF-1629026), the MURI programme (FA9550-18-1-0095 and FA9550-16-1-0566) and a Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship. R.D.J. also acknowledges a Mercator Fellowship for the support of this German–US collaboration. E.Q., J.R. and J.J. acknowledge funding by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) through a Reinhart Koselleck Project (313454214), and the project “Search for compatible zirconium oxide-based shape memory ceramics” (453203767). We thank N. Wolff for preliminary TEM measurements, and A. Mill for her assistance in the preparation of specimens for TEM investigation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploding and weeping ceramics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this