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What are Ceramic Materials?

The name comes from the Greek word
“KERAMICOS” which means burnt stuff.
They are normally inorganic, non-metallic
materials having high melting points and
therefore requires high temperatures for their
Usually a compound, or a combination of
compounds, between metallic and non-metallic
elements (mainly, O, N, C, B). E.g. Al2O3
(Alumina) and 3Al2O3 . 2SiO2 (mullite).
What are Ceramic Materials?
They may be oxides, carbides, nitrides,
borides, silicides etc
They are always composed of more than one
element (Al2O3, SiO2, ZrO2, MgO, SiC, Si3N4
Bonds are either totally ionic or combination
of ionic and covalent.
Characteristics of Ceramic Materials
 Brittle
 Chemically Inert
 Long Life
 High Strength (very strong while applying
compressive load)
 Hard, wear-resistant, electrically and
thermally insulating, refractory, chemically
stable, durable, non- magnetic.

This properties are however, not common to

all ceramics!!
Characteristics of Ceramic Materials
Some Exceptions
 YBa2Cu3O7(Superconductor)
 (Ba,Sr)O.6Fe2O3(Hard magnet)
 Partially Stabilized Zirconia (High
*Classification of Ceramics based on APPLICATION
Traditional Ceramics
Made from three basic components: clay, silica (flint),
and feldspar.
o The clay in traditional ceramics provides workability of
the material before firing hardens it and constitutes the
major body material.
o The silica has a high melting temperature and is the
refractory component of traditional ceramics.
o Potash feldspar, has a low melting temperature and
makes a glass when the ceramic mix is fired. It bonds
the refractory components together.
A type of ceramic used in traditional applications such
as construction, earthenware, and glassware.
 Made from components of clay, silica, and
feldspar for which the composition is

◦ Electrical porcelain
◦ Dinner china
◦ Sanitary ware
Electrical porcelain
Dinner China
Sanitary ware
Structural Clay Products
 Made of natural clay, which contains all
three basic components.

◦ Building brick
◦ Sewer pipe
◦ Drain tile
◦ Roofing tile
◦ Floor tile
Structural Clay Products
Building brick
Structural Clay Products
Sewer pipe
Structural Clay Products
Drain tile
Structural Clay Products
Roofing tile
Structural Clay Products
Floor tile
Brick and Tile
structural clay products, manufactured
as standard units, used in building
is a small building unit in the form of a
rectangular block, formed from clay or
shale or mixtures and burned (fired) in a
kiln, or oven, to produce strength,
hardness, and heat resistance
Brick and Tile
is a material, often a mineral, that is
used to shape or finish a workpiece
through rubbing which leads to part of the
workpiece being worn away
a material often means polishing it to gain
a smooth, reflective surface which can
also involve roughening as in satin, matte
or beaded finishes
is one that retains its strength at
high temperature
okiln linings
ogas fire radiants
oglass making crucibles
Gas fire radiants
glass making crucibles
is a binder, a substance that sets and hardens
independently, and can bind other materials together

used in construction can be characterized as being

either hydraulic or non-hydraulic

The most important uses of cement are as an

ingredient in the production of mortar in masonry,
and of concrete, a combination of cement and an
aggregate to form a strong building material
Advanced Ceramics
Advanced ceramics are ideally suited for industrial
applications that provide a physical interface between
different components due to their ability to withstand
high temperatures, vibration and mechanical shock.
A type of ceramic exhibiting a high degree of industrial
A type of ceramic used in specialized, recently
developed applications.
Advanced ceramics often have simple chemical
compositions, but they are difficult to manufacture.
 is
a class of ceramic materials used
primarily for their electrical properties.

Further classified to:

 Dielectric ceramics
 Fast ion conductor ceramics
 Piezoelectric and ferroelectric ceramics
 Dielectric Ceramics
are capable of storing large amounts of
electrical charge in relatively small volumes.
Is an electrical insulator that can be polarized
by an applied electric field.
Dielectric materials can be solids, liquids, or
Solid dielectrics are perhaps the most
commonly used dielectrics in electrical
engineering, and many solids are very good
sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)

Solid Dielectric Liquid Dielectric Gas Dielectric

 Fast Ion Conductor Ceramics
are solids in which ions are
highly mobile. These materials
are important in the area of
solid-state ionics, and are also
known as solid electrolytes
and superionic conductors.
These materials are useful in
batteries and various sensors.
Fast ion conductors are used
primarily in solid oxide fuel
 Piezoelectric Ceramics
◦ Piezoelectric ceramic materials are categorized
as functional ceramics.
◦ In sensors they make it possible to convert
forces, pressures and accelerations into
electrical signals, and in sonic and ultrasonic
transducers and actuators they convert electric
voltages into vibrations or deformations.
◦ Piezo-ceramics have a wide range of uses.
Piezo-ceramics are used in the automotive
industry in a number of applications such as in
knock and oil level sensors or as actuators for
precise control of injection processes in
◦ In medical technology piezo-ceramic
components can be found in lithotripters,
devices for plaque removal and in inhalers.
Common applications in mechanical engineering
include ultrasonic cleaning, ultrasonic welding
and active vibration damping.
 Magnetic Ceramics
Magnetic ceramics are made of ferrites,
which are crystalline minerals
composed of iron oxide in combination
with some other metal. They are given
the general chemical formula Magnetic bracelet

M(FexOy), M representing other

metallic elements than iron. The most
familiar ferrite is magnetite, a naturally
occurring ferrous ferrite (Fe[Fe2O4], or
Fe3O4) commonly known as lodestone.
The magnetic properties of magnetite
have been exploited in compasses Ceramic Magnets
since ancient times.
 Magnetic Ceramics

 Soft Ferrites
o Ferrites that are used
in transformer or electromagnetic cores contain nickel, zinc,
and/or manganese compounds. They have a low coercivity
and are called soft ferrites. The low coercivity means the
material's magnetization can easily reverse direction without
dissipating much energy (hysteresis losses), while the
material's high resistivity prevents eddy currents in the core,
another source of energy loss. Because of their comparatively
low losses at high frequencies, they are extensively used in
the cores of RF transformers and inductors in applications
such as switched-mode power supplies.
 Magnetic Ceramics

 Hard Ferrites
o In contrast, permanent ferrite magnets are made of hard ferrites,
which have a high coercivity and high remanence after magnetization.
Iron oxide and barium or strontium carbonate are used in
manufacturing of hard ferrite magnets. The high coercivity means the
materials are very resistant to becoming demagnetized, an essential
characteristic for a permanent magnet. They also conduct magnetic
flux well and have a high magnetic permeability. This enables these
so-called ceramic magnets to store stronger magnetic fields than iron
itself. They are cheap, and are widely used in household products such
as refrigerator magnets.
 Optical Ceramics
are polycrystalline materials produced through controlled
crystallization of base glass.
Glass-ceramic materials share many properties with
both glasses and ceramics.
Glass-ceramics have an amorphous phase and one or more
crystalline phases and are produced by a so-called
"controlled crystallization" in contrast to a spontaneous
crystallization, which is usually not wanted in glass
Glass-ceramics have the fabrication advantage of glass as
well as special properties of ceramics.
Glass ceramics has a variety of properties such as, high
strength, toughness, translucency or opacity, opalescence,
low or even negative thermal expansion, high temperature
 Optical Ceramics

Watch Glasses Optical Glass Lenses

High-pressure sodium-vapour
lamp bulb
Advance Structural Ceramics
 ceramic materials that demonstrate enhanced
mechanical properties under demanding conditions.
Because they serve as structural members, often
being subjected to mechanical loading, they are given
the name structural ceramics. Ordinarily, for
structural applications ceramics tend to be expensive
replacements for other materials, such as metals,
polymers, and composites.
Advance Structural Ceramics
Classified to:

o Nuclear Ceramics
o Bioceramics
o Tribological Ceramics
o Automotive Ceramics
 Nuclear Ceramics
nuclear ceramics, ceramic materials employed in the
generation of nuclear power and in the disposal of radioactive
nuclear wastes.
In their nuclear-related functions, ceramics are of major
importance. Since the beginning of nuclear power generation,
oxide ceramics, based on the fissionable metals uranium and
plutonium, have been made into highly reliable fuel pellets for
both water-cooled and liquid-metal-cooled reactors. Ceramics
also can be employed to immobilize and store nuclear wastes.
Although vitrification (glass formation) is a favoured approach
for waste disposal, wastes can be processed with other
ceramics into a synthetic rock, or synroc, or they can be
mixed with cement powder to make hardened cements. All
these nuclear applications are extremely demanding. In
addition to severe thermal and chemical driving forces,
nuclear ceramics are continuously subjected to high radiation
 Nuclear Ceramics

The image above shows a vintification process or encapsulating

nuclear waste in glass is a possible method of containing
nuclear wastes
 Bioceramics
ceramic products or components employed in medical and
dental applications, mainly as implants and replacements.
Bioceramics range in biocompatibility from the ceramic
oxides, which are inert in the body, to the other extreme of
resorbable materials, which are eventually replaced by the
materials which they were used to repair.
Bioceramic materials are commonly subdivided by their
bioactivity. Bioinert materials, (such as Oxide ceramics,
Silica ceramics, Carbon fiber) are non-toxic and non-
inflammatory. These materials must be long lasting,
structural failure resistant, and corrosion resistant.
Bioceramics additionally must have a low Young's modulus
to help prevent cracking of the material.
 Bioceramics
Ceramics are now commonly used in the medical fields as dental,
and bone implants. Artificial teeth, and bones are relatively
commonplace. Surgical cermets are used regularly. Joint
replacements are commonly coated with bioceramic materials to
reduce wear and inflammatory response. Other examples of
medical uses for bioceramics are in pacemakers, kidney dialysis
machines, and respirators.

Femoral Head
of a Hip
Prosthesis Hip Prosthesis
 Tribological Ceramics
Tribological ceramics, also called wear-resistant ceramics,
ceramic materials that are resistant to friction and wear. They
are employed in a variety of industrial and domestic
applications, including mineral processing and metallurgy.
Advanced structural ceramics offer unique capabilities as
They are being used today in diverse applications such as tips
for ball-point pens, precision instrument bearings, and cutting
tool inserts.
Tribological applications of ceramics can be divided into several
categories based on the properties of the ceramics. These
include: resistance to abrasion and erosion; resistance to
corrosive wear; wear resistance at elevated temperatures; low
density; and electrical, thermal and magnetic properties.
 Tribological Ceramics

Tip of a ball Point Pen

Ceramic Instrumental Bearing
 Automotive Ceramics
Automotive ceramics, advanced ceramic
materials that are made into components
for automobiles. Examples include spark
plug insulators, catalysts and catalyst
supports for emission control devices, and
sensors of various kinds. Its powerful Spark Plug Insulators
physical, thermal and electrical properties
make it a reliable, highly durable and cost-
effective alternative to metal. As the
industry faces continued pressure to
deliver innovative design, improved safety
features and environment-friendly vehicles
(while also reducing production costs), use
of this material looks set to grow. Catalytic Converter
of Advanced
Ceramics based on COMPOSITION

Nitrides used in ceramics consist of nitrogen

atoms bonded to elements such as silicon and
Silicon Nitride
 is a chemical compound of the elements silicon and nitrogen,
with the formula Si3N4. It is a white, high-melting-point solid
that is relatively chemically inert, being attacked by dilute HF
and hot H2SO4. It is the most thermodynamically stable of the
silicon nitrides. Hence, Si3N is the most commercially
important of the silicon nitrides and is generally understood
as what is being referred to where the term "silicon nitride" is
Silicon Nitride

o Wear Guides
o Seals and Bearings
o Grinding Media
Aluminum Nitride
 a covalently bonded ceramic is synthesized from abundantly
available elements Al and N. The ceramic does not occur
naturally. AlN has a Wurtzite crystal structure and is stable in
inert atmospheres at temperatures in excess of 2000°C. It
exhibits high thermal conductivity property while remaining a
strong dielectric. This unusual combination of properties is
what makes Al N a critical advanced materials for many future
applications in Optics, lighting, electronics and green
environmental technologies.s an intermetallic inorganic
compound with the chemical formula Pb[ZrxTi1-x]O3 0≤x≤1).
Also called PZT, it is a ceramic perovskite material that shows
a marked piezoelectric effect, which finds practical
applications in the area of electroceramics. It is a white solid
that is insoluble in all solvents.
Aluminum Nitride


dielectric layers in optical storage media
electronic substrates, chip carriers where
high thermal conductivity is essential
military applications
Silicon Aluminum Oxynitride
 are a specialist class of high-temperature refractory materials,
with high strength (including at high temperature), good
thermal shock resistance and exceptional resistance to
wetting or corrosion by molten non-ferrous metals, compared
to other refractory materials such as, for example, alumina. A
typical use is with handling of molten aluminium. They also
are exceptionally corrosion resistant and hence are also used
in the chemical industry. Sialons also have high wear
resistance, low thermal expansion and good oxidation
resistance up to above ~1000 °C.
Silicon Aluminum Oxynitride

oThermocouple protection tubes for nonferrous metal melting
oImmersion heater and burner tubes
oDegassing and injector tubes in nonferrous metals. Metal feed
tubes in aluminum die casting
oWelding and brazing fixtures and pins
of Advanced Ceramics

 Silicates are materials composed generally of silicon and oxygen.

Silicate ceramic components are used in electronics and electrical
engineering and act as electrical insulation in fuses, circuit breakers,
thermostats and in lighting technology. The ability of silicate ceramic
materials to provide thermal insulation is also utilized in heating,
environmental and thermal engineering applications.
- is a ceramic material made by
heating materials, generally
including clay in the form of kaolin,
in a kiln to temperatures between
1,200 °C (2,192 °F) and 1,400 °C
(2,552 °F). The toughness, Porcelain Vase
strength, and translucence of
porcelain arise mainly from the
formation of glass and the
mineral mullite within the fired
body at these high temperatures.

Porcelain Tile
Magnesium Silicate
• is a chemical compound consisting of magnesium, silicon,
and oxygen. It exists in several forms, both natural and
manufactured. One of the most common forms of this
compound is the mineral talc, which can be found in
deposits around the world and is used in many industrial
and everyday applications. Synthetic forms are also widely
used, especially as filters and additives in the food
• The material is lower in cost than Alumina but offers
reduced mechanical properties. However it has very good
electrical resistance properties, which are retained at high
temperatures, along with moderate mechanical strength
and temperature resistance. It has been used in electrical
insulation for many years in both large-scale electrical
systems and electronic and domestic appliances.
Magnesium Silicate

Bases for halogen lamps Switches and Plug Parts

• Mullite is the mineralogical name given to the only chemically
stable intermediate phase in the SiO2 - Al2O3 system.
• Mullite is commonly denoted as 3Al2O3 .2SiO2 (i.e. 60 mol%
Al2O3). However it is actually a solid solution with the
equilibrium composition limits of 60 – 63mol % Al2O3 below
1600o C.
• By far the largest use of mullite based products is in
refractories. The glass and steel industries are two main
• The good mechanical properties at high temperatures of high
purity mullites have made them potential high temperature
engineering ceramics, for example in turbine engine
• Other applications include electronic substrates and protective

Uniform 1micron thick

A selection of mullite-based protective mullite coating on a
refractory shapes for the
15 micron . diameter SiC fiber
steel industry
*Classification of Advanced Ceramics based on


 Carbide ceramics are extremely resistant against high

temperature, abrasion and corrosion. They have a high
thermal and variable electrical conductivity, and are mainly
used in mechanical engineering, chemical, and power
engineering, microelectronics as well as space engineering.
Boron Carbide (B4C)
 crystalline compound of boron and carbon. It is an
extremely hard, synthetically produced material that is
used in abrasive and wear-resistant products, in
lightweight composite materials, and in control rods
for nuclear power generation.

 With a Mohs hardness between 9 and 10, boron carbide is

one of the hardest synthetic substances known, being
exceeded only by cubic boron nitride and diamond.
Boron Carbide (B4C)

o Padlocks
o Abrasives
o Cutting Tools
o Grit Blasting nozzles
Silicon Carbide (SiC)
 exceedingly hard, synthetically produced crystalline
compound of silicon and carbon.
 Its chemical formula is SiC.
 an important material for sandpapers, grinding wheels,
and cutting tools.
 More recently, it has found application in refractory linings
and heating elements for industrial furnaces, in wear-
resistant parts for pumps and rocket engines, and in
semiconducting substrates for light-emitting diodes.
Silicon Carbide (SiC)

o Abrasives or Cutting Tools (e.g. Grinding Wheel, Sandpaper)
o Burner Nozzle
o Spray Nozzle
o Automobile Parts (e.g. Disc Brakes)
Tungsten Carbide
 is an inorganic chemical compound (specifically,
a carbide) containing equal parts of tungsten and carbon

 In its most basic form, tungsten carbide is a fine gray

powder, but it can be pressed and formed into shapes for
use in industrial machinery, cutting
tools, abrasives, armor-piercing rounds, other tools and
instruments, and jewelry.
Tungsten Carbide

o Drill Bits
o Surgical Imstruments
o Jewelry
of Advanced Ceramics

 An oxide is a chemical compound made up of

oxygen combined with at least one other element.
Most of the Earth’s crust consists of oxides.
Aluminum Oxide (Al2O3)
 Aluminium oxide is a chemical
compound of aluminium and oxygen with the chemical
formula Al2O3. It is the most commonly occurring of
several aluminium oxides, and specifically identified as
aluminium(III) oxide. It is commonly called alumina,
and may also be called aloxide, aloxite, or alundum
depending on particular forms or applications. It is
exceptionally hard, strong, sharp abrasive made from a
process in which alumina gel is dried and crushed.
Ceramic aluminum oxide has the ability to refracture at
the sub-micron level.
Aluminum Oxide (Al2O3)

◦ Medical prostheses
◦ Ballistic armour
◦ Electrical insulators
◦ Grinding media
◦ Wear components
Magnesium Oxide (MgO)
is a white hygroscopic solid mineral that occurs naturally
as periclase and is a source of magnesium.
It has an empirical formula of MgO and consists of a lattice
of Mg2+ ions and O2− ions held together by ionic bonding.
According to evolutionary crystal structure prediction,
MgO2 is thermodynamically stable at pressures above 116
GPa, and a totally new semiconducting suboxide Mg3O2 is
thermodynamically stable above 500 GPa.
Magnesium oxide is produced by
the calcination of magnesium carbonate or magnesium
hydroxide or by the treatment of magnesium chloride with
lime followed by heat.
Magnesium Oxide

◦ Heating elements
◦ Thermocouple tubes
◦ High temperature crucibles
◦ Cement
Zirconium Dioxide (ZrO2)
is one of the most studied ceramic materials. ZrO2
adopts a monoclinic crystal structure at room
temperature and transitions to tetragonal and cubic at
higher temperatures. The volume expansion caused by
the cubic to tetragonal to monoclinic transformation
induces large stresses, and these stresses cause ZrO2to
crack upon cooling from high temperatures. When the
zirconia is blended with some other oxides, the
tetragonal and/or cubic phases are stabilized.
Zirconium Dioxide (ZrO2)

◦ Dental Ceramics
◦ Technical Cutters
◦ Tubes and Pipes
◦ Seal Rings, Bearings, Sealings
Aluminum Titanate (Al2TiO5)
 a ceramic material consisting of a mixture
of alumina (Al2O3) and titania (TiO2) forming solid
solution with stoichiometric proportion of the
components: Al2O3*TiO2 or Al2TiO5.
 prepared by heating of a mixture of alumina and
titania at temperature above 2460°F (1350°C).
 The distinctive property of Aluminum Titanate ceramics
is their high thermal shock resistance which is a result
of very low coefficient of thermal expansion.
 Disadvantage of Aluminum Titanate ceramics is
relatively low mechanical strength caused by micro-
cracks formed as a result of anisotropy of thermal
expansion along the three primary axes of the crystal
lattice (a single crystal of Aluminum Titanate expands
along two axes and contract along the third axis when
Aluminum Titanate (Al2TiO5)

◦ Riser Tubes
◦ Tubes and Pipes
◦ Thermocouples
◦ Dosing Tubes
Lead Zirconate Titanate
 is an intermetallic inorganic compound with the
chemical formula Pb[ZrxTi1-x]O3 0≤x≤1). Also
called PZT, it is a ceramic perovskite material
that shows a marked piezoelectric effect, which
finds practical applications in the area of
electroceramics. It is a white solid that is
insoluble in all solvents.
Lead Zirconate Titanate

◦ Undersea exploration (sonar, beacons, imaging, current meters)
◦ Aerospace (gyroscopes, accelerometers, level sensing)
◦ Telecommunications (optical switching of telecom lines, buzzers
and alarms, Haptics feedback, mobile phone cameras)
◦ Automotive (power seat controls, reversing/collision avoidance
sensors, anti-knock sensors)
◦ Scientific research (nano positioning stages and analytical tools,
scanning probe microscopy, advanced acoustics)
Amorphous Ceramics: Glasses
a ceramic material which is an inorganic
product of fusion that has cooled to a
rigid condition without crystallization
 has a noncrystalline or amorphous
 The molecules in a glass change their
orientation in a random manner
throughout the solid material.
*Types of Glasses based on Composition
Fused silica glass, vitreous silica glass
◦ silica (SiO2). Has very low thermal expansion, is
very hard and resists high temperatures (1000–
1500 °C). It is also the most resistant against
weathering (alkali ions leaching out of the glass,
while staining it). It is used for high temperature
applications such as furnace tubes, melting
crucibles, etc.
◦ the most important singe-component glass, has a
high spectral transmission and is not subject to
radiation damage, which cause browning of other
◦ ideal glass for space vehicle windows, wind tunnel
windows, and optical system in spectrophometric
◦ difficult to process and expensive
Fused silica glass, vitreous silica glass

Optical Lenses Mirror Substrates

Space Vehicle Glass Windows Crucibles, trays and boats

*Types of Glasses based on Composition
Soda-lime-silica glass, window

◦ silica 72% + sodium oxide (Na2O)

14.2% + magnesia (MgO) 2.5% +
lime (CaO) 10.0% + alumina
(Al2O3) 0.6%. Is transparent, easily
formed and most suitable for
window glass. It has a high thermal
expansion and poor resistance to
heat (500–600 °C).

◦ Used for flat glass, containers,

pressed and blown ware, and
lighting products where high
chemical durability and heat
resistant are not needed.
*Types of Glasses based on Composition
Sodium borosilicate glass, Pyrex
◦ silica 81% + boric oxide (B2O3) 12% +
soda (Na2O) 4.5% + alumina (Al2O3)
2.0%. Stands heat expansion much better
than window glass. Used for chemical
glassware, cooking glass, car head lamps,
etc. Borosilicate glasses (e.g. Pyrex) have
as main constituents silica and boron
◦ They have fairly low coefficients of
thermal expansion (7740 Pyrex CTE is
3.25×10–6/°C as compared to about
9×10−6/°C for a typical soda-lime glass),
making them more dimensionally stable.
The lower CTE also makes them less
subject to stress caused by thermal
expansion, thus less vulnerable
to cracking from thermal shock.
◦ They are commonly used for reagent
bottles, optical components and
household cookware.
*Types of Glasses based on Composition

Lead-oxide glass,
crystal glass
◦ silica 59% + soda (Na2O) 2.0% +
lead oxide (PbO) 25% + potassium
oxide (K2O) 12% + alumina 0.4%
+ zinc oxide (ZnO) 1.5%. Has a
high refractive index, making the
look of glassware more brilliant
(crystal glass). It also has a high
elasticity, making glassware 'ring'.
It is also more workable in the
factory, but cannot stand heating
very well.
*Types of Glasses based on Composition
Aluminosilicate glass
oA small, but important type of glass,
aluminosilicate, contains 20% aluminium
oxide (alumina-Al2O3) often including calcium
oxide, magnesium oxide and boric oxide in
relatively small amounts, but with only very
small amounts of soda or potash.
oIt is able to withstand high temperatures and
thermal shock and is typically used in
combustion tubes, gauge glasses for high-
pressure steam boilers, and in halogen-
tungsten lamps capable of operating at
temperature as high as 750°C.
*Types of Glasses based on Composition

Halogen-Tungsten Lamps

Boiler Gauge Glass

Iphone’s Aluminosilicate Sheet Glass

*Types of Glasses based on Composition
• Oxide glass
o alumina 90% +
germanium oxide (GeO2)
10%. Extremely clear
glass, used for fiber-optic
wave guides in
communication networks.
Light loses only 5% of its
intensity through 1 km of
glass fiber.

Fiber-Optic Waveguides
1(a)What are ceramic materials? Discuss the
general characteristics of ceramic materials.
(b) Classify ceramic materials based on
composition and application. Give at least two
examples of each category.