Saint-Gobain Ceramic Materials


Do you think of vases and dinner plates when you hear the word “ceramic”? Well, at Saint-Gobain Ceramics R&D those are the furthest from our minds. Ceramics are replacing traditional materials in many applications because of the unique properties they deliver. Our research teams are at the front lines of innovation in this field.  Industrial, technical, functional and advanced ceramic materials can take a variety of shapes and perform many functions. Properties can be tailored by selecting and blending the raw materials, processing and shaping the form using custom mold tooling, and then densifying the green body through a precise high-temperature firing process in a controlled atmosphere.


Ceramic Materials Teams at Saint-Gobain Research North America


The High Performance Refractories (HPR) R&D team focuses on developing innovative ceramic solutions


The High Performance Refractories (HPR) R&D team develops innovative ceramic solutions for a wide array of applications including ballistic armor, wear-resistant materials, structural ceramics, and ceramic systems. One of our key areas of research is the development of next generation ceramics for military body armor that achieves the highest level of ballistic protection with significantly lighter weight.


We're also developing oxidation-resistant barrier coatings for silicon carbide that will significantly increase high-temperature performance in extreme environments and meet the requirements of next-generation energy technologies. This work had been funded in part with an IDEAS award from the US Department of Energy, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, ARPA-E.


Other focus areas include the development of new refractories and ceramics with improved thermal shock resistance, creep performance, abrasion, and wear resistance.




The NRDC SEFPRO R&D team is a key element of the SEFPRO global R&D network


SEFPRO is the only refractory group worldwide fully dedicated to the Glass Industry. For more than 85 years, SEFPRO has been collaborating with our customers, who are among the most innovative glassmakers in the world.We are very proud to contribute to their success through the development of new refractory materials manufactured by a variety of ceramic processes.  Our materials are used as structural elements of the glass furnaces and operate at temperatures that can exceed 1600 °C, with strong temperature gradients, and in contact with aggressive glasses and vapors. Intense R&D efforts continuously improve the performance of glass furnaces by delivering extended lifetime and near-zero refractory glass defects while contributing to a cleaner environment.


As part of the SEFPRO global R&D network, the Saint-Gobain Research North America SEFPRO team provides support to our West Virginia plant and to our worldwide customers with a strong focus on reinforcement fiber glass and display glass industries. Our current R&D Project portfolio focus on these two main targets, and our research approach combines the benefit of extended experimental testing and the development of scientific expertise in material characterization, nonlinear thermomechanics, thermochemistry, and forming and sintering of ceramics.





The Grains and Powders R&D team comprises multiple businesses focused on developing innovative ceramic solutions for a broad range of applications.


Speciality Grains and Powders:


  • Saint-Gobain Abrasive Materials, the world’s leading manufacturer of specialty grains and powders for grinding, blasting, lapping and polishing applications, offers highly-engineered abrasive materials for the demanding requirements of the aerospace, automotive, construction, electronics, energy, semiconductor and steel industries.
  • Saint-Gobain Surface Conditioning combines formulation knowledge and material science expertise to transform raw materials into engineered particles, compounds and slurries that optimize surface conditioning processes in technically demanding applications.
  • Saint-Gobain Boron Nitride products are manufactured as powders, solid finished components and blanks, aqueous coatings, as well as solid source dopants for a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, ceramic manufacturing, electronics, semiconductors, metal working and cosmetics.
  • Saint-Gobain Coating Solutions applies our material science and processing expertise to develop innovative materials and solutions for a wide range of coating technologies, including Thermal Spray, Hardfacing, Magnetron Sputtering and EB-PVD.


Saint-Gobain NorPro:

NorPro is the leading supplier of custom catalyst carriers, bed topping media, support media, mass transfer media and support assemblies, and regenerative thermal oxidation packings and ceramic proppants.



Want to learn more?

Visit the Saint-Gobain Ceramics website for additional information.



Learn More

Focus on:

Steam Oxidation Resistant Ceramics for SiC (silicon carbide) Protection

this study evaluates the recession behavior of Ta2O5 (tantalum oxide) in high temperature steam for potential development

This study evaluates the recession behavior of Ta2O5 (tantalum oxide) in high temperature steam for potential use as an environmental barrier coating for silicon carbide (SiC) in slow flow regimes (0.3 m/s) for applications such as tubular reactor vessels in energy and chemical processing fields. Ta2O5 requires stabilization to limit cracking from a volumetric phase change at 1400ᵒC, and the CTE of the stabilized compound closely matched SiC, making it a good candidate as a protective coating. However, the performance in steam at 1500ᵒC was only marginally better than SiC at 5 atm pressure and was somewhat worse at 1 atm.


See the Poster

Lucie Fraichard

Meet Lucie

Senior Research Engineer



"R&D is anything but a routine job: Change is the only constant. It’s all about experimenting with new things and constantly learning even sometimes from your failures. It also forces you to question things, habits, beliefs, and to discover new industries, new applications and new technologies…"

Learn More

The news

Saint-Gobain North American Inventor Recognition Dinner

Inventors at Saint-Gobain Research North America were recently honored for their patents at the 2019 North American Inventor Recognition Dinner. Those recognized at the dinner were Saint-Gobain employees in North America who were granted a patent within the last two years. 

See more
PhiZero: Bottom-Up Innovation at SGR North America

Saint-Gobain Research North America is winding up its 9th year of our internal PhiZero program. PhiZero is a program funded by Corporate R&D to foster bottom-up innovation. The program is run at different Saint-Gobain R&D centers globally to give employees at the centers a chance to take on projects they wouldn’t normally be able to or want to explore further. These projects range from business related challenges that have yet to be solved to entirely new product ideas.

See more
To Bag, or not to Bag, That is the Question Facing Cell Therapy Manufacturing

Scientists at Saint-Gobain Research North America recently published a review article in Transfusion, a collaborative effort with McGill University researchers. “Bags versus flasks: a comparison of cell culture systems for the production of dendritic cell–based immunotherapies”

See more
Saint-Gobain once again among the world’s TOP 100 most innovative companies

01/23/2019 - For the eighth consecutive year, Saint-Gobain has been named as one of the 100 most innovative companies and institutions, according to Clarivate Analytics’ “Top 100 Global Innovators” ranking for 2018.

See more
Nano One Signs Joint Development Agreement with Saint-Gobain

Saint-Gobain has entered into a Joint Development Agreement with Nano One, a technology company on a mission to change how the world makes battery materials. The agreement between the companies will focus on enhancing the high temperature processing of Nano One’s lithium ion battery materials. 

See more
Saint-Gobain Opens Materials Library at Greentown Labs

12/6/2018 - In continuation of Saint-Gobain’s partnership with Greentown Labs, the largest clean technology incubator in the United States, Saint-Gobain has opened the Materials Library at the Global Center for Cleantech Innovation. The Materials Library is a multi-use lab spacecreated to connect the Greentown community with the diverse technologies, experts and businesses of Saint-Gobain.

See more
The intersection of corporate and start-up innovation

11/29/2018 Saint-Gobain and Greentown Labs, the largest cleantech start-up incubator in the US, partnered to host a panel discussion and networking event to explore the intersection of corporate and start-up innovation.

See more

11/26/2018 - Saint-Gobain announces the launch of the "Transform & Grow" Program. The plan includes acceleration of portfolio rotation, new organizational structure and enhanced operating margin.

See more
Saint-Gobain panel discussion “Thinking Beyond an Engineering Degree: Tools for Successfully Navigating Your Career” at WE18

Saint-Gobain hosted a panel disucssion at the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) 2018 national conference on the subject “Thinking Beyond an Engineering Degree: Tools for Successfully Navigating Your Career”

See more
Presentation of Top Global Innovators Award

10/17/2018 - In 2017 Saint-Gobain was recognized for the seventh consecutive year as one of the 100 most innovative companies in the world by Clarivate Analytics.

See more
2018 MADMEC Winner: Fiat Flux

MADMEC's 2018 $10K grand prize went to student team "Fiat Flux," for a technology that uses light to clean water filtration systems in real time.

See more
Dr. Robert Hahn Visits the Higgins Grinding Technology Center

Over 30 years ago, Dr. Robert Hahn co-wrote the book on grinding technology; today we welcomed him to tour the Higgins Grinding Technology Center (HGTC) at the Saint-Gobain Northboro Research & Development center. The HGTC is dedicated to developing advanced grinding solutions for the world's leading manufacturers and continues to utilize many of the methodologies Dr. Hahn spent his career pioneering.

See more
Greentown Labs Opens Global Center for Cleantech Innovation with Support from Saint-Gobain

As a Founding Sponsor and one of the world’s largest building materials companies and manufacturer of innovative material solutions, Saint-Gobain made sustainable building material donations and plans to use the Center as a test site for its products to spur future innovation


See more
2018 North American Research and Development Orientation Seminar

For the past six years the North American Research and Development Orientation Seminar (NARDOS) has served as a training for all researchers new to the Northboro R&D Center in order to expose them to Saint-Gobain R&D. The seminar builds our R&D community by introducing researchers to the tools and mentors they have at their disposal throughout their career at Saint-Gobain. This year the thirty NARDOS participants were broken up in to teams and tasked with developing short films and presentations on this year’s focus: customer intimacy.

See more
Saint-Gobain again named one of the world's top-100 most innovative companies

Clarivate Analytics has just published its Top Global Innovators 2017 ranking. For the seventh time in a row, Saint-Gobain has been included in the 100 most innovative companies and institutions in the world, based on four patent-related metrics.

See more
Saint-Gobain NOVA launches new website geared toward startup companies

The NOVA team designed a dynamic new website that explains the various opportunities for startups to connect with Saint-Gobain, its family of companies and network of partners to grow their business.

See more
NRDC researchers collaborating with Université Laval

NRDC researchers Camila Garces and Nicolas Drolet presented collaborative work with Professor Gaetan Laroche of Université Laval at the 4th International Workshop on Plasma Surface Interactions in Orleans, France.

See more
Gifts for local kids from NRDC employees

NRDC employees give back to local families

See more
Diversity and Inclusion Day at NRDC

At Saint-Gobain we believe the best ideas are born when teams are given the opportunity to come together and work as one.

See more
2017 MADMEC Winner: A Salt Solution

MADMEC's 2017 $10K grand prize went to student team "A Salt Solution," for a low-cost hydrogel that extracts uranium from water to provide fuel for nuclear power plants.

See more
University Collaborations at NRDC Can Be a Sticky Business

NRDC researchers develop techniques for direct monitoring of cross-linking reactions.



See more
NRDC researching materials to protect US soldiers

11/12/2017 - Researchers at NRDC improve lightweight armor for military and police protection.

See more
Mixing Experts Symposium at Northboro R&D Center

10/19/2017 - NRDC hosts Saint-Gobain mixing experts from R&D and manufacturing

See more
Saint-Gobain sponsored a STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) outreach event at Girls Inc

09/30/2017 -  Saint-Gobain sponsored a STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) outreach event at Girls Inc. of Worcester. Volunteers from Saint-Gobain’s Northboro and Worcester locations organized a full-day of workshops on the topics of materials science, robotics, and career development.

See more
08/17/2017 - MADMEC semi-finals August 24 at MIT

Saint-Gobain, MIT, and Dow Chemical sponsor MADMEC student challenge for sustainability

See more
08/17/2017 - NRDC researcher wins Fulbright to study energy management aspects of Yurts in Mongolia

Kim Dupont-Madinier, R&D Designer for CertainTeed's Building Systems and Assemblies Design Platform, will take a year sabbatical from Northboro to research the energy management aspects of Mongolian Gers (Yurts) under a Fulbright scholarship.

See more
08/03/2017 - NRDC internal career fair helps employees discover opportunities

08/04/2017 - On August 3rd, NRDC hosted an internal career fair to highlight the many opportunities available across Saint-Gobain businesses.

See more
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics by Tom Kinisky

The former President and CEO of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics brings more than 30 years of experience with Saint-Gobain to the role of President and CEO for Saint-Gobain North America.

See more
NRDC's Melanie Kuhn Key Speaker at Ceramics Expo 2017

R&D Group Leader Melanie Kuhn presented her team's research on coatings for high performance ceramics at the 2017 Ceramics Expo in Cleveland, Ohio, April 2017. 

See more
06/2017 - Tubing and Coatings Roundtable Includes NRDC R&D Manager

Adam Nadeau, Process Technology R&D Manager, participated in MDT's roundtable on tubings and coatings for medical devices.

See more

All the news