err on the conservative side because they underestimate scientific ingenuity, capitalist entrepreneurism, and the breakthroughs in understanding or processing capability that open up completely unexpected paths of development. Given such caveats, it is expected that multicomponent, self-reinforced ceramic alloys, heat treated to optimize properties, protected by compressive layers applied by ion bombardment or laser glazing, and joined by lasers, electron beams, or novel cements, will become respected members of the engineers’ portfolio of useful structural materials by the year 2000.37

By 2010,48 photonics will have become a dominant technology based on integrated ceramic devices. Coated-fiber sensors will translate electrical, magnetic, and pressure variations into optical signals for real-time processing. Massively parallel “thinking” computers, based on photonics, will be extensively used. Ultra-large-scale integrated electronic chips will be based on doped ceramic materials. Various types of optoelectronic, acousto-optic, and other types of sensors, modulators, and switches based on complex ceramic compositions will be widely used in automated and robotic systems at home and in industry. Bioceramic prostheses will be in common use, and nuclear energy will be the power source of choice, with advanced ceramics used in fuels, structures, and disposal operations.


It is a pleasure to acknowledge useful discussions with numerous colleagues during the preparation of this paper. Especially valuable were those with members of the Metals and Ceramics Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, including J.Stiegler, V.J.Tennery, P.F.Becher, C.J.McHarge, and G.S.Painter; and with associates at Martin Marietta Laboratories, notably K.W.Bridger, L.Christodoulou, and J.Skalny (now with W.R. Grace and Co., Columbia, Maryland).



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