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An Overview on Ceramics

The word ‘ceramic’ is originated from greek word keromikos, which means ‘burnt stuff’. Ceramics are compounds of metallic and non-metallic elements.

Characteristics of ceramics are:

– high temperature stability

– high hardness – brittleness

– high mechanical strength

– low elongation under application of stress

– low thermal and electrical conductivities

Ceramics are classified in many ways. It is due to divergence in composition, properties and applications.

ceramic material

Based on their composition, ceramics are:

– Oxides

– Carbides

– Nitrides

– Sulfides

– Fluorides etc.

Based on their specific applications, ceramics are classified as:

– Glasses

– Clay products

– Refractories

– Abrasives

– Cements

– Advanced ceramics for special applications

Based on their engineering applications, ceramics are classified into two groups as: traditional and engineering ceramics.

Traditional ceramics – most made-up of clay, silica and feldspar

Engineering ceramics – these consist of highly purified aluminium oxide (Al2O3 ), silicon carbide (SiC) and silicon nitiride (Si3N4 )

ceramic materials

The very specific character of ceramics:

– high temperature stability

– makes conventional fabrication routes unsuitable for ceramic processing

Inorganic glasses, though, make use of lower melting temperatures:

Most other ceramic products are manufactured through powder processing.

Typical ceramic processing route: powder synthesis – green component (casting, extrusion, compaction) – sintering / firing.

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