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About Ceramics
When we hear the word ceramics, we are inclined to think of tiles, pots, art-ware, dinnerware, pottery, brick and toilets. These products are normally referred to as customary or silicate-based ceramics. Whilst these conventional products have been and continue to be, important to the civilization, a new class of ceramics has transpired - that most people are unaware of. These advanced or technical or modern or industrial ceramics are being used for applications such as space shuttle tile, engine components, artificial bones and teeth, computers and other electronic components and cutting tools, just to name a few.
 
An introduction & history Ceramics: An introduction & history

The word Ceramic is derived from a Greek word ‘Keramos’ meaning ‘potter’ or ‘pottery’. Keramos in turn was originated from a Sanskrit root – meaning ‘to burn’. Hence, the word Keramos was to infer ‘burned substance’ or ‘burned earth’.

Ceramics have been accompanying the human race since ancient times. Archaeologists have unearthed man-made ceramics that date back to at least 25,000 BC. Primitive Ceramics were made of basic earthen materials like clay and were burnt in domes. Human inventiveness gradually started with firing these articles at higher temperatures to attain harder Ceramic articles. This desire of getting harder substances steered the human races to invent better firing techniques. The human zest and nature’s mystery have come a long way from basic earthen wares to modern world advanced ceramics.

As Ceramics are made of earthen materials, they are the most compatible products with the nature. Ceramics are the only materials which are nature friendly and therefore they are free from decays due to gradual natural impacts like corrosion, erosion, abrasion, thermal shocks, etc. Even though Ceramics are brittle; they are the only materials which subsist to see the races to come. Hence, we may call them a strong-fragile part of human life.

 
Definition & Chemistry Type Definition & Chemistry Type
Ceramics can be defined as inorganic, non-metallic materials that are typically produced using clays and other minerals from the earth or chemically processed powders.

Ceramics are typically crystalline in nature and are compounds formed between metallic and non-metallic elements such as aluminum and oxygen (alumina – Al2O3), silicon and nitrogen (silicon nitride – Si3N4), silicon and carbon (silicon carbide – SiC), etc.
 
Role of Ceramics in Modern World Role of Ceramics in Modern World
Since ancient times, the technology and applications of ceramics (including glass) have steadily increased. We often take for granted the major role that ceramics have played in the progress of humankind. Let’s look at a few examples of the importance of ceramics in our lives.

Just a few questions one may ask oneself, before we uncover the role of Ceramics in modern world.

Can we imagine a world without Steel?
Can we imagine a world without Buildings?
Can we imagine a world without Electricity?
Can we imagine a world without Glass?
Can we imagine a world without Electronics?
Can we imagine a world without Telecommunications?
Can we imagine our body without Bones?

As our body can’t stand without bones, no modern world nation can stand without Ceramics.

And even when we imagine the other world, can it be possible to travel there without a space shuttle (duly protected by Ceramic light weight thermal barrier tile)?

Let us review the major role of Modern Ceramics to various industries to understand its importance to a modern world nation.

We do not have to imagine a world without Steel, thanks to (Ceramic) Refractories: modern iron, steel and non-ferrous metal production would not be possible without the use of sophisticated refractory materials that are used to line high temperature furnaces, channels and ladles. Metals make automobiles, machinery, planes, buildings and thousands of other useful things possible.
Ceramic to Metal Production
   
We do not have to imagine a world without Buildings, thanks to (Ceramic) brick, cement, tile and glass: much of the construction industry depends on the use of ceramic materials. This includes brick, cement, tile and glass. Cement is used to make concrete which in turn is used for roadways, dams, buildings and bridges. Uses of glass in the construction industry include various types of windows, glass block and fibres for use in insulation, ceiling panels and roofing tiles. Brick is used for homes and commercial buildings because of its strength, durability and beauty. Brick is the only building product that will not burn, melt, dent, peel, warp, rot, rust or be eaten by termites. Tile is used in applications such as flooring, walls, countertops and fireplaces. Tile is also a very durable and hygienic construction product that adds beauty to any application.

We do not have to imagine a world without Electricity, thanks to (Ceramic) high tension insulators: ceramics are excellent insulators. High voltage insulators make it possible to safely carry electricity to houses and businesses.
Ceramic For Construction

Ceramic High Tension Insulators Carrying Electricity
   
We do not have to imagine a world without Glass, thanks to (Ceramic) refractories: refractory ceramics are enabling materials for the glass industry and other industries as well. The chemical, petroleum, energy conversion and other ceramic industries all rely on refractory materials. Ceramic Refractories For Glass Making
   
We do not have to imagine a world without Electronics, thanks to (Ceramic) semiconductors, superconductors and magnets: the electronic industry would not exist without ceramics. Ceramics can be excellent insulators, semiconductors, superconductors and magnets. It's hard to imagine not having mobile phones, computers, television and other consumer electronic products. Ceramic For Electronics
   
We do not have to imagine a world without Telecommunications, thanks to (Ceramic) silica fibres: fibre optic fibres have provided a technological breakthrough in the area of telecommunications. Information that was once carried electrically through hundreds of copper wires is now being carried through highquality transparent silica (glass) fibres. Use of this technology has increased the speed and volume of information that can be carried by orders of magnitude over that which is possible using copper cable. The reliability of the transmitted information is also greatly improved with fibre optic fibres. In addition to these benefits, the negative effects of copper mining on the environment are reduced with the use of silica fibres.

We do not have to imagine our body without Bones, thanks to (Ceramic) artificial bones: Orthopaedics has advanced greatly with the aid of Ceramic artificial bones. Surgeons are already using bioceramic materials for repair and replacement of human hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, fingers, eyes and wrists. Ceramics are also being used to replace diseased heart valves. Dentists are using ceramics for tooth replacement implants.
Ceramic To Telecommunications

Ceramic (Artificial Bones and Teeth)
 
Role of Ceramics in Pollution Control Role of Ceramics in Pollution Control
After all these human gestures of innovations, when the nature gets polluted – again ceramics comes in role in controlling the pollution.

Ceramics play an important role in addressing various environmental needs. Ceramics help decrease pollution, capture toxic materials and encapsulate nuclear waste. Today's catalytic converters in vehicles are made of cellular ceramics and help convert noxious hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide gases into non-toxic carbon dioxide and water. Advanced ceramic components are starting to be used in diesel and automotive engines. Ceramics’ properties like – light weight, high-temperature resistance and wear resistance result in more efficient combustion and significant fuel savings.
Ceramics in Pollution Control
 
Advantages Over Metals Advantages Over Metals
Besides their ability to withstand elevated temperatures, modern ceramics have many other advantages over metals.
Ceramics are usually lighter than metals, sometimes weighing only about 40 % as much. This is important in aircraft, missile and spacecraft applications, where reduced weight conserves fuel. In a gas turbine engine, a lightweight ceramic rotor accelerates more rapidly than a heavier metallic rotor because it has less inertia.
They are highly resistant to oxidation and other chemical glue, as well as to corrosion.
Because of their high temperature resistance, ceramics may obviate the need for cooling equipment, especially in diesel engines.
Some ceramics are exceptionally hard. The hardest substances known, such as diamond, boron carbide, cubic boron nitride and silicon carbide are ceramics. They can be excellent cutting agents.
Because of their low coefficient of friction, high compressive strength and wear resistance, some ceramics can be used in bearings and other mechanical parts without requiring lubrication.
Some modern ceramics can withstand temperatures as high as 1600°C, whereas even the best super-alloys can seldom be used above about 1100 °C.
Modern ceramics are potentially less expensive than super-alloys. In the years ahead, these ceramics are expected to be much cheaper than super-alloys.
Unlike super-alloys ceramics do not require the increasingly expensive strategic metals (viz, cobalt, chromium, nickel and tungsten) for high temperature use.
 
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