Tallinn University of Technology

Innovative Materials for Industrial Applications

Head of research group: professor IRINA HUSSAINOVA, irina.hussainova@taltech.ee
Research group members: Irina Hussainova, Roman Ivanov, Maksim Antonov, Sofiya Aydinyan, Rocío Rojas Hernandez, Dmitri Goljandin, Rainer Traksmaa, Hans Vallner, Le Liu

Doctoral students: Rahul Kumar, Mansoureh Rezapourian,  Jallouli Necib,  Arash Kariminejad

Keywords: Ceramics, Composites, Multifunctional structures, Graphene,  Laser powder bed fusioon (LPBF) processing, Powder metallurgy, Microstructure, Mechanical properties, Tribology and tribo-materials, Bio-inspired materials, Combastion syntesis, Luminescence, Chemical vapor Deposition (CVD), Recycling. 

Overview of the competencies of the research group:

The research involves several highly interconnected topics in Materials Engineering and can broadly be subdivided into interdisciplinary directions focused on:

  • Hierarchically structured bio-inspired multi-functional composites: The tasks include but not limited to electroconductive ceramics, functionally graded and anisotropic ceramic-based composites, mesoporous ceramics, nanofibers, graphene added bulks, ceramic membranes.
  • Luminescent materials: The focus of our research is to develop new inorganic luminescence materials by knowledge based design to generate efficient and reliable phosphors with promising luminescence properties and interesting crystal structures for those applications, by careful materials selection and synthetic strategies.
  • Self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS) and solution combustion synthesis (SC) of novel materials: Self-propagating high-temperature synthesis and solution combustion synthesis are utlized to produce single-phase and dual-phase high entropy alloys, high entropy ceramics and refractory composites for multipurpose (catalytic, magnetic, wear, etc.) applications. Twins originated during the sintering process endow them with curious mechanical properties and impressive thermal stability.
  • Powder Metallurgy and Additive Manufacturing through the Selective laser melting: the work is focusing on a scalable spark plasma sintering and selective laser melting/sintering of multi-functional structures, as well as controlling the microstructure and macroscopic features to tune the material properties.
  • Tribology and high-temperature damage-tolerant composites for tribo-applications: The work is concentrated on the tests of materials under most of tribological working conditions present in a real-life.
  • Recycling and disintegrator technology: The Laboratory is working with the combined systems of impact grinding and separation based on disintegrator mills, which operate at different modes of grinding (direct, separative and selective grinding, as well portional and steady grinding).

The group is comprising of several laboratories which are working together to meet the joint goals.

The Laboratory of Self-propagating High temperature Synthesis (SHS) is dealing with preparation of powders, mostly ceramic based composite powders, suitable for AM of the geometrically complex items.


The Laboratory of Chemical Vapor Deposition is mostly specialized on functionalization of ceramics substrates by graphene and metal oxide nanoparticles.


The group shares Powder Metallurgy and Additive Manufacturing Laboratories focusing on a scalable SPS and SLM/S of multi-functional structures.


The Research Laboratory of Tribology and Materials Testing is the only place in Estonia where materials can be tested under most of tribological working conditions: sliding (with or without lubricant, at room or elevated temperature, etc.), abrasion (different loads, velocities, abrasive particles, etc.), erosion (dry or wet, different particle concentration, different temperatures, etc.), scratching, combined processes (tribo-corrosion or impact-abrasion).


The Laboratory of Disintegrator Technology is working with the combined systems of impact grinding and separation based on disintegrator. Combined with a built-in inertial separation system, it makes possible to produce powders of materials that are generally considered impossible to obtain using such types of mills (for example plastics, rubber, hardmetals, composites etc.). 


The most outstanding research results for 2022:

  • The implementation of powder bed selective laser processing technique for bioactive ceramics. The scaffolds, which morphologically and physiologically mimic natural features of the bone, are of a high demand for regenerative medicine.
  • Silicon-doped biomimetic multi-phase composite scaffolds based on bioactive inorganic phases and biocompatible polymers have been developed using simple and inexpensive hydrothermal method.
  • The computational study have addressed new biomimetic load-bearing implants designed to treat long bone critical-sized defects in a proximal diaphysis region. For the first time, the design encompasses two strategies: a Haversian bone-mimicking approach for cortical bone and lattices based on triply periodic minimal surfaces (TPMS) for trabecular bone.
  • A strategy for fabricating ultra-hard high density parts was developed by sintering the microwave synthesized B4C-ReB2 composite without additives.
  • The spark plasma sintering (SPS) of self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS)-derived Ni-W and Ni-W-2wt%hBN powders has been applied to the production of composites for high temperature applications.
  • Self-lubricating high-temperature tribo-composites of Bi-Ni-Ti-TiBx have been developed.
  • The SHS processing of composites powders has been developed for advanced powder metallurgy techniques.
  • Mo(Si,Al)2-based composites are promising candidates to be used as heating elements, high temperature coatings and structural materials. The powders mixture of 90 wt.% MoSi2 and 10 wt.% AlSi10Mg was subjected to a laser powder-bed fusion (LPBF) to produce Mo(Si,Al)2-based composites for the tist time.
  • The ability to use efficient energy transfer to convert ultraviolet or visible light photons to enhance the NIR emission has attracted a great deal of attention in down-conversion applications. Undoped ZnAl2O4 fibers have been synthesized by a cost-efficient wet chemical route to produce phosphors without rare-earth elements.
  • For the first time, the NIR emitter luminescent compound ZnAl2O4:Nd,Ce, which adopts a spinel-type structure, reveals the energy transfer from Ce3+ to Nd3+ and the enhancement of the NIR emission due to the presence of Ce4+. Cytotoxicity analyses suggest the viability of the synthesized nanofibers, which opens new avenues in bio-imaging applications.
  • Novel graphene-added absorber materials, which can be directly integrated in terahertz waveguide systems, has been developed.
  • 3D-printed α-Al2O3 supports with multi-scale porosity have been fabricated by direct ink writing and, for the first time, successfully coated by a tailorable number of nanocrystalline graphene layers using a single-step catalyst-free CVD technique to develop cellular graphene/Al2O3 hybrids.
  • The remarkable tunability of 2D carbon structures combined with their non-toxicity renders them interesting candidates for thermoelectric applications. The graphene encapsulated nanofibrous fillers in composites have shown promising potential for thermoelectric material designs by tuning their properties via carrier density modification and Fermi engineering through doping.
  • Composites formed by graphene augmented γ-Al2O3 nanofibers embedded into the α-Al2O3 matrix have been tested for X-band absorption efficiency. Such multilayer structures with tunable properties (i.e., broad-band and frequency-specific absorbers) can trigger potential applications in the design of electronic enclosures and radar absorbing solutions in telecommunication and aerospace.

The most important published articles of recent years:

  • Ramírez, Cristina;  Saffar Shamshirgar, A.; Perez-Coll, D.; Osendi, M.; Miranzo, P.; Tewari, Girish C.;  Karppinen, M.; Hussainova, I.; Belmonte, M. CVD nanocrystalline multilayer graphene coated 3D-printed alumina lattices. Carbon, 2023, 202, 36-46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carbon.2022.10.085
  • Kumar, R.; Torres, H.; Aydinyan, S.; Antonov, M.; Varga, M.; Rodriguez Ripoll, M.; Hussainova, I. Microstructure and high temperature tribological behaviour of self -lubricating Ti-TiBx composite doped with Ni–Bi. Surface & Coatings Technology, 2022, 447, 128827. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.surfcoat.2022.128827
  • Rezapourian, Mansoureh; Nikhil Kamboj, Iwona Jasiuk, Irina Hussainova. Bio-mimetic design of implants for long bone critical-sized defects. Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 2022, 134, 105370. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmbbm.2022.105370
  • Rojas Hernandez, Rocio E.; Rubio-Marcos, Fernando; Romet, Ivo; Del Campo, Adolfo; Gorni, Giulio; Hussainova, Irina; Fernandez, Jose; Nagirnyi, Vitali. Deep-ultraviolet emitter: rare-earth free ZnAl2O4 nanofibers via a simple wet chemical route. Inorganic Chemistry, 2022, 61, 11886-11896.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.inorgchem.2c01646
  • Hussainova, I.; Saffar Shamshirgar, A.; Ivanov, R.; Volobujeva, O.; Romanov, A.E.; Gasik, M. Directional conductivity in layered alumina. Current Applied Physics, 2022, 40, 68-73; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cap.2020.06.009
  • Kumar, R., Hussainova, I., Rahmani, R., Antonov, M. Solid Lubrication at High-Temperatures—A Review. Materials, 2022, 15, 1695. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15051695
  • Minasyan, Tatevik; Hussainova, Irina. Laser Powder-Bed Fusion of Ceramic Particulate Reinforced Aluminum Alloys: A Review. Materials, 2022, 15, 2467;  https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15072467
  • Kamboj, Nikhil; Ressler, Antonia; Hussainova, Irina. Bioactive Ceramic Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering by Powder Bed Selective Laser Processing: A Review. Materials 2021, 14, 5338. Doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14185338
  • Saffar Shamshirgar, A.; Rojas-Hernandez, Rocio E.; Tewari, G.; Fernandes H.F.; Ivanov, R.; Karppinen, M.; Hussainova, I. Functionally Graded Tunable Microwave Absorber with Graphene-Augmented Alumina Nanofiber. ACS Applied materials & interfaces, 2021;   https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.1c02899
  • Minasyan, T., Ivanov, R.; Toyserkani, E.; Hussainova, I. Laser  powder-bed  fusion  of  Mo(Si,Al)2  –  based composite for elevated temperature applications. J. of Alloys and Compounds (JALCOM), 2021, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jallcom.2021.161034
  • Rojas-Hernandez, Rocio E., Rubio-Marcos, Fernando; Gorni, Giulio; Marini, Carlo; Danilson, Mati; Pascual, Laura; Uhida Ichikawa, Rodrigo; Hussainova, Irina; Fernandez, Jose Francisco. Enhancing NIR Emission in ZnAl2O4:Nd,Ce Nanofibers by Energy Transfer from Ce to Nd: a Promising Biomarker Material with a Low Cytotoxicity. Materials Chemistry C, 2021, 9, pp.657-670. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1039/D0TC04752J
  • Kamboj, N.; Kazantseva, J.; Rahmani, R.; Rodriguez, M.A.; Hussainova, I. Selective laser sintered bio-inspired silicon-wollastonite scaffolds for bone tissue engineering. Materials Science & Engineering C, 2020, 116, 111223; doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msec.2020.111223
  • Saffar Shamshirgar, A.; Rojas-Hernandez, Rocio E.; Tewari, G.; Ivanov, R.; Mikli, V.; Karppinen, M.; Hussainova, I. Multi-Functional Layered Structure of Alumina/Graphene-Augmented-Nanofibers with Directional Conductivity. Carbon, 2020, 167, 634-645; doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carbon.2020.06.038
  • Liu, L., Minasyan, T., Ivanov, R., Aydinyan, S., Hussainova, I. Selective laser melting of TiB2-Ti composite with high content of ceramic phase. Ceramics International, 2020, 46 (13), 21128-21135; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ceramint.2020.05.189
  • Kamboj, N.; Saffar Shamshirgar, A.; Shirshneva-Vaschenko, E.; Hussainova, I.  Deposition of iron oxide nanoparticles on mesoporous alumina network by wet-combustion technology.  Materials Chemistry and Physics, 2019, 225, pp. 340-346; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matchemphys.2018.12.095
  • Taleb, Masoud; Ivanov, Roman; Bereznev, Sergei; Kazemi, Sayed Habib; Hussainova, Irina. Alumina/graphene/Cu hybrids as highly selective sensor for simultaneous determination of epinephrine, acetaminophen and tryptophan in human urine. J. Electroanalytical Chemistry, 2018, 823, pp. 184 – 192; doi: 10/1016/j/jelechem.2018.06.013


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Group members

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Equipment and Services

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Research description

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Research projects

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Research topics for MSc and PhD candidates

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