Have you ever wondered about the myriad materials where stuff is made that we come across in our daily life? The many materials which have unique characteristics and which are used for making various articles used in everyday life- these materials attract the attention of the young inquisitive minds in engineering classes all over the world.
Today, let me familiarizes you with the world of CERAMICS.
“Ceramics” are the materials which are generally misinterpreted as materials used merely for pottery and decorative objects. Even though the word ceramic hails from wholesale custom ceramic ashtray the Greek word “Keramos”, meaning potter’s clay courts or pottery, what many people don’t realize is that ceramics play an important role everywhere you go you see and many times in places that you can’t.
Besides the everyday objects of glassware and floor tiles, the ceramics of today are critical in assisting computers and other electronics operate, in medical devices for improving people’s health in several ways, in providing global telecoms, and in protecting members of the military and vehicles during combat.
Ceramics are generally thought as inorganic, non-metallic materials that are produced from powdered chemicals. They are typically crystalline in nature (their atoms are arranged in a methodical manner) and are compounds formed between metal and non-metallic elements such as aluminum and oxygen (alumina, Al2O3), calcium supplements and oxygen (calcia, CaO), silicon and nitrogen (silicon nitride, Si3N4), and so on.
Various “advanced ceramic” products are manufactured by combining high-purity chemicals into desired shapes and then heating them to very high temperatures. The formed ceramic products thus made can have many desirable properties such as heat resistance, solidity, strength, low electrical conductivity, and unique electro-mechanical characteristics. Thus advanced ceramics are ceramics which are created by securely controlled methods and therefore they exemplify an “advancement” over the general definition. As a consequence of these refined methods, a new class of ceramics called “advanced ceramics” exists.
Long lasting and harder than steel, advanced ceramics may be found in planes motors, auto motors, cutting tools used for making metal products, the skin of space shuttles, chef knives, topic proof armor, artificial hip-joints, computers and microelectronics.
One of the first uses of advanced ceramics was for corrosion-resistant stoneware wrecks in the chemical industry since the 1750s. Then came porcelain, which was first used in dental treatments in the 1850s. With the creation of electric light in the 19th century, ceramic materials based on porcelain for electrical warmth were developed.
This became accompanied by the flowering of the radio and television broadcasting industry in the the twentieth century, which needed special heat resistant materials that could withstand the high-frequency electromagnetic fields. As a result, electro-ceramics such as steatite were developed. Subsequently, other electro-ceramics such as over unity magnetic ceramics (ferrites) were developed, accompanied by capacitor ceramics (titanates) and electro-mechanical ceramics (piezoelectric ceramics). In the later the main the twentieth century, the requirement for protecting tiny transistors and ICs from background conditions led to the development of ceramic packaging materials which triggerred further miniaturization.
Concurrent with the development of electro-ceramics, another sub-class of advanced ceramics which had become called structural ceramics developed, which had high structural and chemical integrity seen as an properties such as extremely high solidity, hardness, and heat and chemical resistance. These structural ceramics found applications in several industries, for example in the space industry as heat and wear resistant tiles and nose cones on space shuttles, in the aerospace industry as bearings and generator rotors, in the chemical industry as chemical resistant elephant seals and conduits, in the support industry as bullet-proof vests and armor plates for vehicles, in the biomedical industry as hip-joints, knee-joints and orbital implants, and so on.
As ceramic technology has rapidly developed over time, this is of advanced ceramics has expanded to include a much broader choice of compositions used in a large variety of applications. In bigger terms advanced ceramics also include glass (which has a non-crystalline or amorphous random atomic structure), enameled surface (a type of glassy coating), glass-ceramics (a glass which is to some extent crystallized), and inorganic cement-type materials (cement, concrete, plaster and lime).
Advanced ceramics include yet another sub-class of ceramics called refractories. Refractories are critical materials which reduce heat losses from industrial ranges, also called kilns, and at the same time they resist very aggressive conditions including chemical and acid attack, very high temperatures (up to 3200°F), scratching, mechanical impact, and more. These refractory ceramics enable manufacturers of items such as metals, metals, concrete floor, glass, etc to operate efficiently and viably. Thus they play a very important role in growing the global economy.