Available Technology

Novel Dielectric Ceramic by Spark Plasma Sintering

A new nanomaterial for high density energy storage applications
Barium titanate ceramics have been used as a capacitor material for many years and are the mainstay for millions of chip capacitors used in systems today. The research behind the NASA Spark Plasma Sintered Dielectric Technology focused on optimizing the ferroelectric characteristics of barium titanate to expand its capabilities as an energy storage&#47device material. Initial research efforts resulted in a prior closely related NASA innovation, Solid-State Ultracapacitor for Improved Energy Storage (MFS-33115), whereby the NASA innovators developed a technology for close control of the polycrystalline microstructure and grain boundary composition of the novel barium titanate material. The current innovation builds on that work with the demonstration of the use of SPS as an additional component to providing a novel and unique composition and nano-scale microstructure. This current work began as a collaborative effort with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to evaluate SPS as an alternate method to densify the green nanopowder compact. Tests of the spark plasma sintered barium titanate materials have demonstrated gigantic permittivities, some of the highest ever reported, and very low dielectric losses. The NASA innovators continue to optimize the materials and processes to further understand and improve energy-storage density of the material.
Patent Abstract: 
Researchers at NASA&#8217s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a new dielectric material based on barium titanate nanopowder processed via spark plasma sintering (SPS). The rapid and full densification achieved by SPS, together with a unique ceramic nanopowder processing approach, enables new ceramic materials with extremely high relative permittivity or dielectric constant. As NASA requires more power from battery and capacitor systems for longer and more-complex space missions, today&#8217s energy storage devices are increasingly challenged to meet these demands. New energy storage devices that can replace standard electrochemical batteries or ultracapacitors and that can offer major gains in performance, weight, reliability, and safety are critical. This new technology offers a potential solution and can also offer significant advantages for many other non-space applications that use batteries or supercapacitors as well.

The dielectric material produced by this innovation exhibits substantial reductions in weight and size compared with conventional electrochemical battery materials.


This energy storage device material has a full range of uses from high-performance aerospace, medical, etc. applications to mass-produced devices for electronics to automotive and larger energy storage applications.

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Patent Issue Date: 
July 12, 2018
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