The use of natural, recycled and sustainable ceramic materials can address some of the greatest environmental concerns being faced today. Ceramic tiles are not just sustainable but as well made from natural materials. Composed of clay as well as other natural ingredients, ceramic tiles do not involve the destruction of other natural resources. The clay can be crafted into a wide variety of shapes for numerous uses.
Glazed tiles offer a surface that cannot be contaminated or penetrated. This is the reason why these do not require the use of chemical cleaners. Mild cleaners are sufficient to accomplish the task of cleaning ceramic tiles. Ceramic tile is a sustainable alternative to most of the traditional materials employed for the purpose of flooring. The newer vinyl tiles pose less environmental threats. These can be cleaned easily and are safe to use.
Efforts are being made for making ceramic materials more recyclable wherever required. Most of the ceramic products can be incinerated without contributing harmful gases into the atmosphere. Although most of the products do not degrade in landfills such as vitrified tiles, these do not add chemicals to the fill either. These products just leave behind natural residue back to where they belong.
Humans have been using vases, plates, jugs, jewelry and vessels made from clay for millennia. A vast variety of clay materials is still employed as these are one of the most durable and beautiful options available to us. Earthenware, porcelain, and stoneware are all made from natural materials. There have been recent debates over the eco-friendliness of ceramic materials.
The case arises against the amount of energy spent for firing the kilns that are employed for hardening the clay. This is because thousands of degrees of temperature is needed for the purpose. Several types of glazes demand two trips into the kiln. If fossil fuels are employed for the purpose then that can prove to be quite detrimental to the environment. Less energy is consumed for making pottery in comparison to glass. Ceramicists claim that heat recovery systems are in appropriate place these days in ceramic industries.
The fact cannot be ignored that harmful chemicals present in the glazes can leach into liquids and food. Use of glazes also implies that certain ceramic materials can take up years to biodegrade. Even if it breaks down, ceramic can be more benign in comparison to plastic products. Ceramics are one of the most durable materials. These are less prone to damages and last for a longer time.
Despite the amount of energy needed for firing a kiln, a well-managed system can ensure proper heat recovery. Research is going on in the field of ceramics for designing more sustainable materials so that they leave a lesser impact on the environment. The best thing about ceramic products is that they serve numerous purposes.
Numerous ceramics are not just designed for specific application. They can be used in different systems because of their properties and compatibility. One such example of multipurpose ceramics is alumina. It is one of the most widely used multipurpose ceramics. It is used in orthopedics because of its chemical inertia and tribological properties. These are used in medical prostheses, seal rings, laser tubes, thermocouple tubes, ballistic armor, electronic substrates, electrical insulators, wear components, in grinding media and lot more.
Glass is yet another innovative and unlimited ceramic material which finds a plethora of applications. It is an essential component in numerous products that are used every day. It is hard to imagine modern life without glass. The list of its uses can be non-exhaustive. It is commonly used for packaging, in making tableware such as glasses, bowls, cups, plate, drinking glasses and a lot more. Buildings and housings such as facades, insulation, windows, reinforcement structures and a lot more require glass. Glass is as well used for the manufacture of appliances and electronic goods. Glass finds applications in transport, automotive and in the medical industry.