The United States leads efforts to develop ceramic materials and processes for RP applications. European and Japanese programs focus on specific applications of ceramic materials. The European application is directed toward the creation of sand molds for metal casting. In Japan the thrust is to toughen polymer mold faces so that RP molds can be directly used for plastic injection. The Europeans have indicated their interest in direct manufacture using ceramic materials through the MJS system, but at the time of the panel's visit there was no activity in this area. There are many programs underway in the United States leading to the fabrication of ceramic parts for direct use and for use as ceramic molds to cast metal parts. The more substantial U.S. interest may be attributed to the military and aerospace applications that require these high-performance materials and to the strengths of these industries in the U.S. economy.