What is Ceramics: Definition and 30 Discussions

A ceramic is any of the various hard, brittle, heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant materials made by shaping and then firing a nonmetallic mineral, such as clay, at a high temperature. Common examples are earthenware, porcelain, and brick.
The crystallinity of ceramic materials ranges from highly oriented to semi-crystalline, vitrified, and often completely amorphous (glasses). Most often, fired ceramics are either vitrified or semi-vitrified as is the case with earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. Varying crystallinity and electron composition in the ionic and covalent bonds cause most ceramic materials to be good thermal and electrical insulators (researched in ceramic engineering). With such a large range of possible options for the composition/structure of a ceramic (nearly all of the elements, nearly all types of bonding, and all levels of crystallinity), the breadth of the subject is vast, and identifiable attributes (hardness, toughness, electrical conductivity) are difficult to specify for the group as a whole. General properties such as high melting temperature, high hardness, poor conductivity, high moduli of elasticity, chemical resistance and low ductility are the norm, with known exceptions to each of these rules (piezoelectric ceramics, glass transition temperature, superconductive ceramics). Many composites, such as fiberglass and carbon fiber, while containing ceramic materials are not considered to be part of the ceramic family. The earliest ceramics made by humans were pottery objects (pots or vessels) or figurines made from clay, either by itself or mixed with other materials like silica, hardened and sintered in fire. Later, ceramics were glazed and fired to create smooth, colored surfaces, decreasing porosity through the use of glassy, amorphous ceramic coatings on top of the crystalline ceramic substrates. Ceramics now include domestic, industrial and building products, as well as a wide range of ceramic art. In the 20th century, new ceramic materials were developed for use in advanced ceramic engineering, such as in semiconductors.
The word "ceramic" comes from the Greek word κεραμικός (keramikos), "of pottery" or "for pottery", from κέραμος (keramos), "potter's clay, tile, pottery". The earliest known mention of the root "ceram-" is the Mycenaean Greek ke-ra-me-we, workers of ceramic written in Linear B syllabic script. The word "ceramic" may be used as an adjective to describe a material, product or process, or it may be used as a noun, either singular, or more commonly, as the plural noun "ceramics".

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  1. Ozen

    Fracture Energy for JH2 Model (Ceramics and FEA)?

    This is a bit of a multi-part question on impact engineering and FEA usage. I am working on making my Alumina ceramic model as accurate as possible in ANSYS for impact simulations. But I am noticing a common theme, while using model parameters in scientific journals I am not getting any...
  2. jdawg

    Total Emissivity as a Function of Temperature (Ceramics)

    Hello, I’m trying to better my understanding of how the total emissivity changes with temperature for ceramic materials. Currently it is my understanding that non-metals typically have a high emissivity. A sanded surface will result in a higher emissivity, and that spectral emissivity varies...
  3. Astronuc

    Radiation effects/damage in structural alloys and ceramics

    I was reading an old thread - Radiation Damage In metals from Gamma rays - https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/radiation-damage-in-metals-from-gamma-rays.826449/ The thread is long dormant and wasn't productive, but based on what I've learned over the last 5 years, I would change my response...
  4. ccdani

    Transmission of blue light through ceramics and surface roughness effects

    Hey :) I measured the transmission of blue visible light (350-550nm) through lithiumdisilicate ceramics with an ulbricht ball and an spectrometer. The light source was a led dental curing unit (bluephase style). The light guide was positioned direct on the ceramics. Now I wanted to test...
  5. R

    Ceramics cannot be strengthened the same way as metals....

    Can someone please confirm, that there is no such thing as solution hardening or particulate hardening in ceramics? I believe you cannot do the processes mentioned. I'm not entirely sure why though. I just say because the ceramic will fracture.
  6. T

    Course selection: Functional Ceramics vs Principles of Metal

    Hi What is more beneficial as a graduate course? Functional Ceramics vs Principles of Metal Forming? Please tell me what you think Thanks a lot
  7. F

    TEM Analysis of Hydroxyapatite (Ceramic)

    What information do you get from TEM images and how do yo obtain it? I am analyzing hydroxyapatite (ceramic).
  8. R

    Primitive vector of complex ceramics structure

    Hi Guys, please help me. how can i derive the primitive vector of copper oxide (I)? basically this is cuprous oxide having a cubic crystal structure but since it has oxygen in it the directions and magnitude of primitive vector are far different compare to basic cubic structure. also please help...
  9. P

    NaLaF4:Er3+ up-conversion spectrum in glass an ceramics

    Hi,Guys. I have registered 2 spectrum's. 980nm induced spectrum of NaLaF4:Er3+ glass and NaLaF4:Er3+ ceramics. Now, i have to explain the observed differences. So the first one and obvious one,is that in the case of glass, luminescence bands becomes wider,because of the lattice structure of...
  10. T

    Piezoelectric ceramics in a robotic limb

    piezoelectric ceramics, are they a good substitute for muscles in a robotic limb, and would they make it move in a similar manner to a real limb
  11. wolram

    Mummy Found in Peru: Ancient Ceramics Discovered

    I just checked it is not mine, may be you lost one. Mummy found abandoned in Peru's capital Subject: Other Archaeology A mummy, apparently of a young woman, was abandoned on a Lima street along with ancient ceramic artifacts, a forensic expert told Peruvian media.The mummified remains of a...
  12. Q

    Whats is the difference between crystalline and non-crystalline ceramics?

    whats is the difference between crystalline and non-crystalline ceramics?
  13. C

    Are mineral wool and rock wool ceramics? 10x in advance

    Are mineral wool and rock wool ceramics?! 10x in advance
  14. F

    Conductivity and heat capacity of tranparent ceramics

    Hello, I want to study transparent alumina and zirconia and I wonder if they have the same conductivity and heat capacity than the dense and opaque materials ? As I can only find datas for the common materials (e.g. dense opaque ones) it would be great! My point of view is that the...
  15. B

    Joining aluminum and ceramics - how to?

    Hi, materials engineering noob needs Your help. I've got a problem. What i need to do, is to somehow join aluminum and ceramics in a rather dynamic application. Ideally, i would like do achieve it without using any other substance, i.e. glue. What i need to work with: aluminum rod, about...
  16. P

    Soldering Inconel and ceramics

    i am doing some research for my university involving soldering an Inconel to a ceramic. i am new to soldering in general, and I am new to this lab. the inconel is nickle-chromium (dont know the composition) and i think the ceramic is Ti-oxide/Zn-oxide/Zirconium-oxide or something. basically...
  17. P

    Can Low-Temperature Ceramic Processing Help Coat Silver Objects?

    I would like to find out more about low-temperature processing ceramics. I'm a product designer and I am working on covering silver objects with ceramics but I am having some problems combining the two materials. Can anyone help me?
  18. S

    Books for ceramics and polymers

    iam searching good books for ceramics please suggest some books actually i need details about the production techniques ,structural features,mechanical properties,industrial ceramics like tungestencarbide,silica-alumina,zirconia,sialons
  19. S

    Highly Efficient Piezoelectric Ceramics

    does anyone work with piezoelectric ceramics or polymers i need to know so real world numbers that i just can't seem to find i think this is due to the fact that i have no real clue as to what i am doing but i would like to 1 a base line number for efficiency as in one kilogram of...
  20. wolram

    Have ceramics come of age for use in ic engines?

    Have ceramics come of age for use in ic engines? from what i can make out they do not improve performance by much, but do make the engine more reliable, coating the piston crown and cylinder head seem to be the favorite use, or components that require little or no lubrication..
  21. A

    Grain Size of Ceramics: Why Larger is Smaller for Diffusivity

    Why is it that the larger the grain size, the smaller the grain-boundary contribution to diffusivity?
  22. A

    (ceramics) random walk approach to gases, liquids, or solids

    For the random walk approach to gases, liquids, or solids, why isn't there a gradient? The atoms don't jump by themselves, right? They should have to feel forces to jump...
  23. A

    Understanding Semiconductors: Intrinsic, Extrinsic, and Nonstoichiometric

    Can someone explain the difference between an intrinsic, extrinsic and nonstocichiometric semiconductor?
  24. A

    Why do ion and electron transfers in ceramics always add up to 1?

    Why for any material, the number of ion transfers plus electron transfers equal 1?
  25. A

    Seger equation for ceramics materials

    for ceramics materials, is there something called a seger equation or something? if so, how do you calculate that?
  26. S

    Effects of highspeed on ceramics

    can anyone tell me what ll be the effect change of acceleration on ceramic products...
  27. A

    Far infrared? Ceramics and pH? Magnetic therapy?

    I'm posting this here because I don't know the legitimacy of the topic and whether it qualifies for discussion in the other physics sections. Curious thing happened today that's got me wondering... I met someone who represented a company that apparently sells healing and therapeutic...
  28. z-component

    Benefits of ceramics in engineering?

    Hiya, I've recently read about the material used for engineering, ceramics. What are the actual engineering benefits of using ceramics instead of titanium? Are there any other materials stronger than ceramics? z-component
  29. J

    Practical Ceramics: Affordable Microwave Thermos Bottle?

    The space shuttle had thousands of tiles that were close to the ultimate insulators. Has anyone gotten to the point where they're not $1000s a pound yet? I was wondering if anyone has created a thermos bottle that you could put in a microwave for a reasonable price. Why can't they spin off...
  30. C

    Exploring Steel Hardening: Cementite, Heat-Treating & Ceramics

    would like to know several things; 1. what exactly is the stuff that i keep reading about called "cementite", and what does it do to steel on an atomic scale to make it harder and more brittle? 2. how does heat-treating and quenching (ie. heating a steel blade, let's say, and then...