Vehicles like the Space Shuttle have used ceramic tiles to thwart heat during reentry, but it has its limits. It can only get so hot, which can force you to use different materials -- and you can forget about using near an engine. Russia's Tomsk State University wants to change that. It's developing a ceramic whose multiple layers (based on hafnium carbide, zirconium diboride and zirconium oxide) can survive temperatures over 5,400F (3,000C). Even the best metal alloys can't usually handle more than 3,600F (2,000C), the university says.