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A diversified and very promising market

The center for Ceramic Materials will invest in the preparation of professionals who handle ceramics

The Multidiscipline Center for the Development of Ceramic Materials comprises research people from five distinct institutions: the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), the  São Paulo State University (Unesp/Araraquara), the University of São Paulo (USP/São Carlos), the Brazilian Center for Physical Research  – (Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas (CBPF/CNPq))  and the Institute for Energy and Nuclear Research –  (Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas e Nucleares  (Ipen/São Paulo)). The team which has as its headquarters the Interdiscipline Laboratory for Electrochemistry and Ceramics of UFSCar, has already participated in joint projects for some years, being classified as a Group of Excellence by the Ministry for Science and Technology under the  Pronex/Finep (Support Program for Excellence Nuclei/ Studies and Projects Financier).

The team at the Center will be split to fulfill two purposes: to develop basic research and to seek to interact with industry. “We have a reasonable opening in relation to the manufacturing area. We operate in the area of electrical ceramics as for example in the case of ceramic capacitors, refractory ceramics, flooring and tiling, besides doing research into particles and fine films”, explains Elson Longo da Silva, the director.

The Center will have a strong focus on the area for the preparation of professionals in the field such those involved in the application and laying of flooring materials and tiles, for example. “ In the majority of cases, the problem is not the quality of the flooring materials but the fact that the laying does not take into account the space required for expansion”, justifies Longo. The program will be developed in partnership with Senai (National Service for Industrial Training). “We intend to use the Internet, have a home page and use the Center for Sciences of Unesp and other universities to improve ceramics production in Brazil”, says Longo.

Besides its activities in the State, with the support of FAPESP, the group intends to extend its work to also encompass the major ceramic producing regions in the country. “Half of the domestic production is in São Paulo, but the exporters are located in the South”, Longo said. Agreements are already being signed for masters degrees  and Ph.D. degrees in Ceramics and Metallurgy in Maranhão. “We are also going to develop closer relations with the states of Paraíba and Rio Grande do Norte with the same objective in mind”, adds Longo. The North-East region of Brazil, he explains, has reserves of high quality clay, mainly for use in decorative ceramics and a raw material, which is practically exhausted in São Paulo. The setting up of a Ceramic Center of Brazil is also planned in partnership with the flooring material and tile industries.

According to one of the specialists responsible for the proposal, the Center will represent a major step forward. “The areas of work which the group has pinpointed are vital for the progress and expansion of the industry in Brazil. The financing that is being allocated to this Center will permit the researchers to move forward towards the consolidation of an activity with international status. It should provide a stimulus to Brazilian ceramic science and engineering. It is an outstanding proposal.”