High-performance inorganic materials, notably advanced structural ceramics, ceramic-matrix composites, metal-intermetallic composites, and interpenetrating-phase composites contribute strongly to technological development in various engineering sectors. However, the commercial viability of these high melting, hard, and wear-resistant materials is limited by the difﬁculty and high cost of ﬁnal shape processing. Innovation in materials processing is thus a crucial area and the main challenge in development of advanced monolithic and composite materials.
One attractive approach to ceramic- and intermetallic-based materials processing is the use of the high exothermic heat of their formation. Self-propagating High-temperature Synthesis (SHS) relies on the ability of highly exothermic reactions to become self-sustaining. SHS (also called combustion synthesis) offers the advantages of energy saving and reduction of processing costs, as well as short processing times that lead to materials with unique microstructures and properties. The greatest beneﬁt of combustion synthesis may be achieved when the exothermic heat of the synthesis reaction is coupled to externally applied pressure to cause densiﬁcation of the reaction product. The progress made in the recent years in the ﬁeld of exothermic SHS processing of various classes of advanced materials is reﬂected in the present Special Section of Advanced Engineering Materials, guest-edited by Nahum Travitzky (Erlangen-Nuremberg), Anna Knyazeva (Tomsk), and Elazar Y. Gutmanas (Haifa). Researchers from eight countries (Germany, Russia, France, USA, Israel, Greece, UK and China) contributed Reviews and Original Articles dealing with various aspects of SHS and non-isothermal materials processing.
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