Ceramics are special materials having a plethora of applications in almost all disciplines. The importance of ceramics is underestimated as many people believe that ceramics are all about tiles and pottery. This is not true. Ceramics industry is one of the rapidly advancing sectors in the USA. The ceramics market in the US is estimated to be over 13 billion US dollars. The ceramic industry started progressing with the knowledge gained during the 1970s and with the attribution of new technologies. This has remained one of the most competitive industries since then in the market segment. Let us explore more about this industry and the versatile use of ceramics in the sections below.
Ceramic products are used in making cement, bricks, glass, tiles, pottery and much more. Bio-ceramics are employed as synthetic bones and as dental implants. Here are few uses of ceramics:
These are used as electrical insulators, spark plugs, crucibles, high-class potteries, crucible dishes and laboratory equipment.
This is the starting material for the manufacture of bricks, pottery, terracotta, sewer, earthenware, drain pipes, covers for electrical cables and tiles.
These are used for constructing sanitary fixtures such as bathtubs and sinks. These are as well used in the construction of drainage pipes, piping vessels, sewerage pipes, absorption towers, pumps, valves, home pipes and underground cable sheathings. These are cheaper than most of the construction materials. However, these are fragile and do not possess any resale value once they are broken.
It is used for making decorative items, optical lenses and household glassware. This material is used for the purpose of insulation in ovens. It is as well used as an insulator in metal pipelines, on walls and roofs of houses and in vacuum cleaners. Glass is used for filtering corrosive liquids such as acids as it is resistant to chemicals. It is also used for the purpose of sound insulation. Safety glass is used in helicopter, automobiles, submarines and aircraft.
In electrical and electronic industries, ceramic materials such as semiconductor materials, piezoelectric material, and barium titanate are used for producing temperature sensors, ceramic capacitors, oscillators, and vibrators. Ceramics used for the above-mentioned purposes are referred to as functional ceramics. Specific properties of these ceramic materials are employed for industrial applications. The ferroelectricity property is employed for producing microphones, sonar, pumps, and sensors.
Ceramic materials find applications in other sectors too. Magnetic ceramics which are another kind of advanced ceramics are employed in the production of inductors and antennas. Bioceramics such as alumina with high purity and density is used as dental implants. Chemical wear, replacement of knees and hips and eyeglasses are some of the applications of bioceramic materials.
Although ceramic materials have been in use since ancient civilizations, the field of advanced ceramics developed recently. These serve important functions and the stream has demonstrated rapid growth since the past decade or so.
These materials possess no electrical resistance practically and were discovered in 1911. These have found several practical applications as they become superconducting only at absolute zero temperature. Ceramic superconductors were developed during the 1980s that demonstrated superconductivity at high temperatures. These have practical applications such as magnetic levitation trains as well as super-fast computers.
Ceramics are employed in an array of applications because of their compressive strength which makes them good structural materials. Due to their high electrical conductivity, these are employed in making spark plugs and high voltage insulators. Ceramic tiles are used in ovens because of their good thermal insulation properties. These are as well used as exterior tiles on a shuttle orbiter. Few ceramics are transparent to electromagnetic waves and radar. Hence they are used in transmitters and radomes.
Ceramics can help capture toxic materials and decrease pollution. The catalytic converters are made of ceramic and help in converting fumes into gases that are nontoxic. Ceramic components can be found in every aspect of a vehicle and is a major contributor to the advances in the field of eco-friendly and hybrid vehicles.
Artificial teeth and bones
Toughened Ceramics are employed in hip replacements. These are designed to be porous so that they can stimulate natural growth of the bone around the artificial joint. Ceramic is chemically bonded to your tooth when you opt for filling making them extremely strong.
Ceramic insulators can be found in televisions. Silicon chips can be found in computers. Electric motors can be found in a blender or vacuum cleaner.
We can come across ceramic almost everywhere in modern life. These have crept into our lives and almost everything that we use or come in contact with have ceramics or derived materials in them. It is hard to imagine the world without these materials as these form the key to most of our new technologies.