Ceramics has formed the basis of probably the longest-standing industry in the history of mankind. When man first discovered that clay could be dug out, mixed with water and fired in a kiln to give shape to various objects, the foray into using ceramics began. Animal and human figures made of clay dating back to 24,000 BC have been found by archeologists. From being an artistic pursuit to enabling the overcoming of the greatest technological ceramic christmas decoration challenges, ceramics manufacturing has grown by leaps and bounds. Advanced ceramics have enabled us to reach untouched frontiers of development in a variety of industries.
Advanced ceramics refer to the materials obtained by combining ceramics with other materials to give rise to new materials with entirely different properties from those of the original. The production of these advanced materials has made it possible to use them as an engineering material that surpasses metal-based systems. The unique and astoundingly powerful physical, thermal and electrical properties of these materials have served to provide cost-effective and high-performance alternatives to traditional materials such as metals, plastics and glass.
Properties of advanced ceramics
These materials exhibit the following properties, on a general basis:
• Dimensional stability
• High resistance to heat
• Exceptional electrical properties (high insulation/high conductivity)
• Chemical inertness
Production of advanced ceramics
The production of these advanced materials requires the use of more complex and demanding procedures compared to the production process of traditional ceramics.
The beginning of the production process starts with inorganic solid powders that have precisely controlled particle size, distribution and purity. The raw materials are chosen and formulated according to the desired properties and are then mixed with a binding agent. Then, they are cut and shaped as desired and sintered at extreme temperatures. The sintering or firing removes the moisture and binders. The ceramic component tends to lose its porosity resulting in a hard and dense final product.