Ceramic Engineering

Where You Won’t Find Ceramics

Posted by on Nov 7, 2015 in Ceramic Engineering, Ceramics, Daily Activities, Knowledge | Comments Off on Where You Won’t Find Ceramics

Where You Won’t Find CeramicsWe often talk here about ceramics, their uses and the different places and machines where you might find ceramics or ceramic components. But what about places where you won’t find ceramics? Porcelain and similar materials have their uses, and they are very good for a limited number of applications. However, ceramics aren’t any kind of perfect material without flaws or problems. We have addressed some of these in the past, and you can bet that among the reasons for ceramics not showing up in some of the places we’ll outline, you’ll be seeing a few old favorites popping up once more.

For one, ceramics are awfully fragile when compared to components made from metal, or even plastic pieces in some cases. Ceramics don’t stand up to shaking, rattling and other blunt force very well, though they do make for some good body armor thanks to the way they disperse incoming energy. You won’t find ceramics in hammers, wrenches or long pole saws because they’re just too fragile for such rough usage. Designing ceramic sheets to break and reduce damage from a bullet is all good, but you wouldn’t want your tools going to pieces on you during a project, so you won’t find ceramics there.

Similarly, you won’t find ceramics in sleeping arrangements like mattresses and box springs. Mattresses have been made from all kinds of materials, from fabric and padding to simple bags stuffed full of straw or corn silk. Some box springs are even made out of cardboard in the case of very cheap bed sets. But even that cardboard will hold up to the tossing, turning and rolling of a sleeping body better than ceramics would. That would almost be like sleeping on a bed of nails after you’d chipped or cracked enough of the ceramic parts, very painful and not at all recommended.


Oddly enough, while you’ll often find ceramics in the floors of buildings or rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, ceramics tend to play a miniscule role in furniture. It’s really more for dolls and figurines rather than chairs, couches or beds, though the latter was already mentioned above. A thick piece of solid ceramic material is a ton heavier than even dense, sturdy wood, so that probably has a lot to do with this. Being fragile doesn’t matter at all if something is so heavy it’s unwieldy to move around and use in the first place, right?

Well, these are just a few of the places where you shouldn’t expect to find ceramics in any capacity. It’s not quite what we usually talk about here, but knowing where you won’t see ceramics tells you more about the material, and it’s kind of an educational experience because of that. If there’s anything we love here, it is educating people about all the different applications for ceramics and the myriad ways to use them. But it would be silly to ignore the places where they can’t be used just to make a point or push an agenda, now wouldn’t it?

Read More

Ceramic-Based LED Lighting

Posted by on Nov 6, 2015 in Ceramic Engineering, Knowledge | Comments Off on Ceramic-Based LED Lighting

Ceramic-Based LED LightingCeramics don’t conduct electricity like copper or gold components do, but it’s that lack of conductivity and resistance to the high temperatures which tend to come with active electrical circuits which make ceramics an excellent material to use as the base or backing for LED lighting systems. Ceramics don’t melt like plastic at higher temperatures, and they tend to be far more durable than their cheaper plastic counterparts. There is a trade-off for this boosted level of quality though, and it comes in the form of increased production costs and a different kind of fragility, though it isn’t heat, which is good.

For one, ceramics just don’t stand up to blunt force trauma or sudden, serious impacts very well. A set of ceramic LED lights falling from a ceiling some four meters to the floor below would probably be a broken, shattered mess where a system with a plastic base would have a couple of broken or loose bulbs but still work for the most part. The increase cost to manufacture ceramic systems over plastic ones means they will cost more for consumers in the store too, and the actual difference in price over cheaper plastic lighting sets is enough to push ceramic lighting out of strict, low budgets.

Compared to plastic LED lights, ceramic lights are also significantly heavier. The base material is much denser, so it only makes sense that it has more weight to it than the lighter, flimsier plastic. Barring any accident like a mount screw coming loose or the owner dropping the lights on the floor, the heavier, sturdier ceramic backing will have a longer consumer life and give you more for your dollar than the plastic LED systems. There are good and bad points about both types of LED lighting systems, but the best value will depend on what needs you’re trying to meet specifically.

If you’re looking for portability and you don’t care about the lasting power of your lights, plastic is probably a better choice for you in the long run. It’s nowhere near as heavy as ceramics in most cases, and that means you don’t need to do as much work to secure a plastic fixture before you use it, which can take a lot of time and work out of the process for you. On the other hand, ceramic LED lights are going to last longer as a given unless some accident occurs.

Consider the environment where you plan to use your LED lighting. If you’re looking at a greenhouse with LED lights specifically for growing plants, you’ll probably want to use a ceramic base because it will hold up against the intense heat better than plastic, allowing you to run your lights for longer before you need to give them some time to cool down. Last, but certainly not least, keep the price in mind. Ceramics are generally more expensive, but there can be some very costly plastic setups as well. If you do nothing else, just don’t buy the first thing you see.

Read More

Hazards in dealing with ceramics

Posted by on Nov 1, 2015 in Ceramic Engineering, Ceramics, Knowledge | Comments Off on Hazards in dealing with ceramics

While pottery is considerably less harmful when compared to other workplaces, some of the materials used in pottery can cause illness and hazards. Knowing about such materials will help you avoid them and make your workplace safe, especially if kids are involved in the ceramic creation.

Children have for a long time safely played with clay and made beautiful things out of clay, but this has been possible because of handling the involved materials with common sense and respect.  Here are some of the hazards associated with ceramic pot creation

Lead poisoning

Lead is a very dangerous material, especially when ingested or breathed in. It is released from firing into air, when painting or glazing is done on the ceramic. Using a ceramic pot or mug glazed with lead in it can be toxic. Although most of the ceramics used now do not contain lead, sometimes the lead may be added accidentally which can lead to serious effects.

The lead in the glaze is absorbed by any drink or food that is acidic. Coffee or tea cups and serving dishes are mostly made of ceramic. These look beautiful and are preferred by all in both cold and hot weather.

Lead is used in such utensils because it helps to speed up the melting of the glaze, so any color can be added easily. If you are buying ceramic items while on a vacation abroad, make sure you test for lead. The test kits are inexpensive and purchased easily.

While ceramics are used in almost all spheres of life from simple household pottery to highly advanced space technology there hasn’t been much research on the hazards they produce. Even modern day mountain skis have ceramic in them to enable better safety and performance. Choosing an efficient Mountain Ski, helps to have a better experience on the slopes.

Ceramic paint

White color paint had lead carbonate in it earlier. Lead oxide was used to add red color. This paint when it is washed down by rain can contaminate soil and cause harm to children affecting their intelligence and also cause other dangerous symptoms.

Materials to be used with caution

The following materials are hazardous and should be used with care. Inhaling the fumes or ingesting them should be avoided.  While the materials do not generally produce any hazards when fired properly in glazes, you still need to be careful while using them.

Borax, cadmium, beryllium, cobalt, selenium, chromium, copper, potassium, nickel, zinc, vanadium and potassium dichromate are the materials to be used with care.

Toxins formed during firing

Materials such as chlorides, fluorides, sulfides, and carbonates can form toxic fumes when they are fired. Impure clay, fluorspars, gypsum, cryolite, crude feldspars and a few other materials have the above materials.

The ball clay commonly used in pottery contains dioxin, which releases fumes on firing. These get deposited in blood and causes serious problems. Dioxin inhalation occurs when people fire ceramic pieces in their home basement in kilns, which are not vented. Knowing the materials, and processes that release the toxins, help in taking proper precautions such as wearing protective gear, using right equipment and a proper studio for the ceramic creation.

Read More

Ceramics in Drones & UAVs

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Ceramic Engineering | Comments Off on Ceramics in Drones & UAVs

Ceramics in Drones & UAVs

You might not think it to look at a drone or quadcopter, but many of those large, metallic flying machines actually have ceramic components inside of them. Specifically, silicon nitride has been turning heads for years and appears to be an excellent ceramic material in the manufacture of high-efficiency engines, like the kind you might find in some of the larger drones and quadcopters available on the market. This particular ceramic material has a great level of stability even when exposed to high temperatures. It’s also highly resistant to corrosion, which again is important in any engine or motor.

As a quick side note, you actually find ceramics in a lot of machines, especially vehicles. Practically every spark plug in every car, truck, van and jeep around the world has some ceramic components because they are very resistant to wear in general. Studies have been done on the reliability of ceramics, and wouldn’t you know it, ceramics happen to be some of the most reliable materials in the world when it comes to lasting ability and resistance to wear, weather and heat. Considering that any quadcopter would have an engine which was constantly running when in use, ceramics might work there too.

There’s actually a study to that effect as well. It’s not exactly recent news, but Oregon State University did a pretty intense study on the use of powder injection molded silicon nitride as a material for major components inside of drones, or UAVs as they were referred to in the study. A UAV is any Unmanned Flying Vehicle, which doesn’t mean there isn’t actually a person controlling it, because that would be silly. They just aren’t on board the vehicle. This is one major misconception about drones, but it’s built right into the name and hard to avoid. Read more about quadcopters, drones and other UAVs right here.

Because of how well they work in electrical components like spark plugs, it stands to reason that ceramics might find their way into similar spots in other engines. While it’s true that your typical quadcopter or drone doesn’t run on gasoline and therefore doesn’t need that initial spark to start the combustion reaction and create propulsion, the electric engines of today have an even greater need for materials that interact well with electricity. That means ceramics may actually see more use, not less. You can expect to see ceramic components inside of any decent quadcopter you find.

While ceramics are excellent for insulating electrical components in engines, they are still fairly fragile. A nice impact with another vehicle or a sudden drop off an elevated surface will probably crack, chip or outright break ceramics in vehicles, even today. Not that people are going to be flying their quadcopters or drones into buildings or do suicide dives into the Earth with them, though some probably will either by mistake or intentionally. Ceramics are cheap, readily available and useful for fulfilling this purpose, so they probably aren’t going to be cut out of engines any time soon.

Read More

Using ceramics in shooting activities

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in Ceramic Engineering, Knowledge | Comments Off on Using ceramics in shooting activities

Using ceramics in shooting activities

Ceramic may be a nice and interesting hobby, but it cannot be denied that from can be created numerous useful things, not just decorations. Besides useful things for the house, decorations and dishes, ceramic has found wide uses in various industries and technologies, and even in shooting activities. Yes, we are talking about clay pigeons.

Clay pigeons were created because there was a need to train the and bring to perfection in shooting a moving target. In the beginning for these purposes people used a variety of things, such as, for example, potatoes. Later, these targets were replaced with targets in the form of glass balls.

The problem with glass targets was the fact that after firing on the ground stayed a lot of broken, sharp glass. So there were made up of other kinds of targets, among which we can cite those of coal, crumpled paper, wood … These experiments were more or less successful.  At the end of the 19th century, there was the invention in the form of a plate made of clay, baked to get the hardness. It is a short story about the origin of clay pigeons, which are used in a variety shooters activities.

Even if clay pigeons are a safer option than a glass, dissolved in the ground and completely natural and environment friendly, that does not mean that they are less dangerous. When you are shooting in any way, safety is paramount. First, you need to have adequate protection for the ears and the eyes. Also, it is important to take into account to store the weapon in a secure place when it is not in use. On the website http://topgunsafe.com/, you can find a great number of gun safes that will keep your weapons far from the possibility to get into the wrong hands. This is especially important when you have children in the house.

The first variant of clay pigeons was made of pure clay that was crumbled, mixed with water and placed in a mold. The mold was baked to get the hardness. Since these targets were very hard and difficult to break, it was necessary to do something brittle, so people invented composition targets – from a combination of limestone and pitch, or from a combination of plaster and mud.

After solving the problem of the shape and composition of the target, it was left to solve the problem of target traps. The first clay pigeons were trapped manually, and they had a special part made for easy management. On this issue, development progressing rapidly and by the end of the 19th century there were created magazine fed traps. These traps appeared in the USA first, and the original invention was quickly promoted and improved.

Since those days, shooting clay pigeons has been another in a series of sports activities that are used for entertainment. In addition, this is one in a series of human activities in which the ceramic production found its role.

Read More

Understanding Ceramic Engineering

Posted by on Aug 28, 2015 in Ceramic Engineering | Comments Off on Understanding Ceramic Engineering

Understanding Ceramic Engineering

Ceramics is a very popular form of art now. Not only in the 21st century, it had become a famous concept in the early 20th century. There are different types of pottery and art forms that can be established from ceramic materials. Britain has seen the likes of many famous ceramicists from the early 1900s who displayed their skill to the world.

But there is something about ceramics that a lot of people are unaware of now. The concept of ceramic engineering is very attractive now. To deal with the subject in detail, we need to look into what ceramic engineering actually is!

Ceramics are non-metallic, inorganic materials. Ceramic engineering is the process of creating objects with the help of these materials. This is done by going down to the roots of ceramics, understanding the basic properties and using some processes on this material. There are a few ways you can work on ceramics. What are these? These include heat treatments, low temperature treatment using precipitation reactions.

Ceramic engineering makes use of some basic properties of ceramics. These include its crystalline structure, long range atomic scale, formation of molten mass and the likes. The whole research on ceramics is based on these few specific properties.

The discovery of ceramic superconductors was a huge blessing to the world. This proved useful in many departments like that of transportation, electronic devices and the likes.

Where can you use ceramic engineered products?

Military purposes: The Second World War created havoc around the world and this led to the rising demand for products in different fields. Ceramic became a useful material back then. This led to the production of lighter, thinner and better performing products. Optical fibers, laser amplifiers, optical switches became a common sight in this part of the world. Bullet proof vests were made with the help of ceramics.

Industries: The industries have benefited hugely with the introduction of ceramic materials. Ceramic engines are common in the transportation industry now. The fuel efficiency of these engines is something that is attracting car manufacturers. Ceramic knives are manufactured now and these are said to be sharper than the usual steel knives. This is quite the invention! Longboards have bearings made from ceramics; these bearings help in better weight management of the longboards. There are, of course, various other longboards to choose from. Check them out here!

Aerospace: It will be hard to believe how strongly the aerospace industry has benefitted with the usage of ceramic materials. Ceramics has been an integral part of space shuttles for a long time now. Ceramic fibers are sometimes used as a protection against fire and also as thermal insulation. Ceramics in aerospace leads to higher durability and mechanical superiority. This all-important material has also made fuel measurements easier.

Ceramic materials and engineering have unlimited scope and benefits on the industries at present. The more we explore these options, the more we will be able to produce cost efficient, durable and reliable products that can only help us in the long run!

Read More