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A group of composite materials consisting of an intimate mixture of ceramic and metallic components. Cermets can be fabricated by mixing the finely divided components in the form of powders or fibers, compacting the components under pressure, and sintering the compact to produce physical properties not found solely in either of the components. Cermets can also be fabricated by internal oxidation of dilute solutions of a base metal and a more noble metal. When heated under oxidizing conditions, the oxygen diffuses into the alloy to form a base metal oxide in a matrix of the more noble metal. See Composite material, Corrosion, Powder metallurgy, Sintering
The combination of metallic and ceramic components can result in cermets characterized by increased strength and hardness, higher temperature resistance, improved wear resistance, and better resistance to corrosion, each characteristic depending on the variables involved in composition and processing. Friction parts as well as cutting and drilling tools have been successfully made from cermets for many years. Certain nuclear reactor fuel elements, such as dispersion-type elements, are also made as cermets. See Ceramics