Demonstrated in situ nucleation of Fe and Co catalytic nanoparticles in alumina powders by heating metal salts in reducing atmospheres or in polyethylene glycol. Carbon nanotubesCNT were synthesized in situ by heating the resulting mixtures in acetylene, xylene, or ethanol vapors. An acid purification process was developed by the STIR partner, Missouri Science and Technology University MST, to disperse commercially produced CNTs, which are initially hydrophobic, in an aqueous alumina slurry. MST demonstrated the first pressureless sintering of alumina- CNT nanocomposites. The 25 fracture toughness enhancement observed with addition of I commercial CNTs decreased at higher concentration levels due CNT entanglement. Efficient induction heating of highly conductive ZrB2-LaB6 eutectic samples was demonstrated in a single mode microwave resonator by positioning the load where it presents minimum impedance to the resonator, i.e. where the electric field is a minimum. Powder loads allows penetration of microwave field to provide volume heating if powder size is smaller than skin depth.