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Different Types of Ceramics and Their Properties

Different Types of Ceramics and Their Properties

You may find it surprising that ceramics are more than just your cups and plates. In fact, you interact with ceramics every day.

Then what are the different types of ceramics?

Knowing different types of ceramics and their properties can be useful to your daily life. For instance, you wouldn’t want to pick ceramics used to create solar panels for your dining ware.

If you’re interested in learning the different types of ceramics and their properties, then keep reading!

What Are Ceramics?

Ceramic is from the Greek word “keramos” which means “pottery” or “potter’s clay.” This is why many people associate ceramic with coffee mugs or plates.

But here is a list of a few things that are ceramics:

  • Glass
  • Tiles
  • Porcelain
  • Bricks
  • Cement
  • Diamond
  • Graphite

These are objects that you will come across throughout your day and are your traditional ceramics. But what about advanced engineering ceramics?

In the world of Chemistry, ceramic is highly regarded and relied upon because they were engineered for very specific purposes. For example, silicon nitrides make high-performance cutting tools.

Advanced engineering materials need ceramic in order to function.

Different Types of Ceramics

There are two main categories that ceramics can be organized in based on their atomic structure. These are crystalline and non-crystalline ceramics.

Oxides, non-oxides, and composites further break down these categories.

Oxides can be combined with nitrogen and carbon compounds to create more complex ceramics. Non-oxides are known for their thermal conductivity. Fibers of other materials reinforce composites.

Some advanced engineering ceramics include:

  • tungsten carbide
  • silicon carbide
  • boron nitride
  • aluminum oxide
  • silicon dioxide
  • lithium-silicon oxide

As mentioned before, these ceramics are for very specific purposes. Lithium-silicon oxide is present in jet engines, for example. A good ceramic manufacturer will help you learn and choose what best suits your needs.

Properties of Ceramics

Before diving into the properties of ceramics, it is important to note their atomic structure. The differentiation between the categories listed above has to do with atomic structure.

When studying Chemistry, you may learn about bonds between atoms.

The two main types of bonds are ionic and covalent. Ionic bonds occur between a metal and a non-metal. Covalent bonds happen between two non-metals.

With ceramics, ionic bonds are the most dominant.

Some composite materials form a background material called the matrix. Carbon fibers or fibers of another material make up the matrix. This material is now known as a ceramic matrix composite.

These bonds and connections within the microstructure of the ceramic give it its properties. The most important property ceramics have is that they’re refractory. This means that they are resilient to wear and tear.

Here is a summary of the properties of ceramics:

  • High melting points
  • Chemical inertness
  • Considerable durability
  • Great hardness and strength
  • Low electrical and thermal conductivity

Your ceramic materials supplier may not specifically list what each compound is best used for, so it’s important to do your own research.

Ceramics 411

Learning about ceramics can seem overwhelming because there is so much information to know about them. But after reading this article, you should know different types of ceramics and their properties.

Now, you can start to search for the ones you’re looking for.

Did you find this article helpful? If so, make sure to read more from us.

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