Generally speaking ceramics are clustered into two categories. These are called “traditional” or “advanced”. The traditional category is generally the one where consumer goods are located. Anything that is used for day-to-day use like dishes, ovenware or other utensils that may be used in a kitchen are the traditional ceramics.
When an industry takes ceramics to look at their other components like the mechanical, electrical, optical or other ways to use the product, it becomes a more commercial strength and is used in a bigger way. There are also refectories and they are used in iron and steel making. There are a variety of products that are made through the use of ceramics in both of these branches. Some are listed below (courtesy of The American Ceramic Society):
Traditional Branches of Ceramics:
– Structural clay products like bricks, sewer pipes, roofing tile
– Things like dinnerware or electrical porcelain
– Different kinds of glasses like flat or container glass.
– Natural and Synthetic Diamonds
Advanced Branches of Ceramics:
– Automotive parts like brakes, rotors or spark plugs
– Aerospace parts like thermal insulation or satellite positioning equipment
– Optical parts for dental and medical
– Optical parts for telecommunications.
Ceramic branches are really about the materials that are used to do things in our world. When you understand that these branches are the foundation of what ceramics will do, then you can take this into an understanding of different places where it can be used.
Ceramics in Construction:
You will find some sort of ceramics in all kinds of building materials. You will see it in the floors, countertops and fireplaces. You can see that many new homes have applied ceramic floors for a new kind of stoned looked. You will also see that ceramics are used for decoration around a fireplace to add color to a room.
Clay bricks will often be used in areas where hurricanes or other natural disasters occur because they are very strong and often can withstand these elements when other building materials will falter.
Ceramics in Aerospace:
Ceramic coatings are used a lot by the military and by other governmental divisions because they are sturdy and last a long time. In fact, ceramics have been used the space shuttle.
The biggest place that ceramics are used is in aircraft and space shuttles because the fibers act as fire protectors and thermal insulation so that the crafts won’t blow up as the engines heat up. The ceramics resist heat and are light weight.
Another industry where ceramics play a large part is in sports. You will find them in race car brakes and in some golf clubs. With golf clubs it makes a good putter because it is light weight and they are tough. So, the average golfer can throw them or otherwise abuse them and they will still help them make an even swing.
Ceramics and Electronics:
You probably know that ceramics have been used in many of your electronic equipment from radios to GPS devices. They are used to do a variety of things within this equipment. Many of the new laptops and PCs will have tiny ceramic transistors in them that will give them more speed and take up less space inside them.
Ceramics in Medicine:
There are medical breakthroughs that are using ceramics. As an example, cancer patients are benefiting from glass beads called TheraSpheresTM that are actually very tiny and made radioactive through a specific process. These are used to help people with liver cancer. They are inserted into the tumor to help reduce it and they leave less damage than regular chemotherapy.