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You’d Be Surprised to Know the Many Uses of Ceramics

Posted by on Jan 31, 2019 in Art, Ceramics, Creativity, Featured, Knowledge | Comments Off on You’d Be Surprised to Know the Many Uses of Ceramics

You’d Be Surprised to Know the Many Uses of Ceramics

Since ancient times, ceramic has proved to be a valuable material. Glossy, sturdy and versatile, ceramic continues to be a highly useful material even in modern times. Most of us come in contact with ceramic in our day-to-day life but hardly notice them.

Here we take a look at the well known and the not-so-well-known uses of ceramic.

Uses of ceramic that we commonly ignore

Cookware

We also come in contact with ceramic on a daily basis through the ceramic cookware and kitchenware. Mortar and pestles, glazed and unglazed pots and crockery, and mug all use ceramic. Lately, ceramic knives, which are very lightweight, durable and sharp, have become popular.

Tiles

Since ancient times, ceramic has been commonly used as tiling material. Today, they remain a popular pick for a kitchen, bathroom, and even roofing. Modern ceramic tiles can be glazed with all sorts of colorful designs. Ceramic tiles can even be customized to a preferred design. Ceramic is highly favored because of its aesthetics and durability.

Sanitary ware

Toilets, bathtubs and sinks are definitely made from ceramic. We use these sanitary wares on a daily basis. When glazed and fired, ceramic becomes non-porous, durable and shiny clean. These attributes make ceramic the perfect choice for sanitary ware.

Brick

Not many of us know but the brick and cement used to build homes do contain a ceramic material. In fact, ceramic is a major aggregate of many cement products. Without ceramic, we won’t be able to construct any concrete structure.

Arts and crafts

Many timeless art pieces are made of ceramic material. They range from statues to sculpture to mixed art. Both vintage and modern pottery with art can be made of ceramic. This material can also be used for a wide array of crafts such as small ceramic figurines or decorative pieces. And you can even have a customized ceramic book cover to secure any of your precious books or even the planner that you bought at GetLifeYouDesire.com.

Uses of ceramic we hardly know of

You might be surprised to learn that ceramic is actually used for these other purposes.

Electronics

Did you know that TVs, computers, radios, and electric motors all use ceramic? Many are unaware that ceramic is actually used in electronic devices that they use every day. Usually, ceramic is used for its insulation properties.

Medicine

In the field of medicine, ceramic is used to create teeth and artificial bones. This material is vital in developing hip replacements products. In orthodontics, ceramic is not only used to create veneers, dentures and false teeth, they are also used as tooth fillings. In fact, ceramic tooth fillings are becoming very popular since the material bonds perfectly with the tooth which makes them extremely strong.

Cars

A lot of people hardly know that ceramic is actually present in our cars. Catalytic converters contain ceramic that helps convert toxic fumes into non-toxic gases. This helps decrease pollution and benefits the environment. Ceramic is also used as a component of different part of the car engine. Makers of hybrid and eco-friendly vehicles are also looking at the potential uses of ceramic in their projects.

Space

Ceramic is a heat-resistant material which makes it the best material to use in NASA’s Space Shuttle. Thousands of insulated composite ceramic materials are used to protect the exterior of the Space Shuttle from overheating as a result of friction with the Earth’s atmosphere. Future space aircraft are also expected to use ceramic to make them more aerodynamic and heat-resistant.

With all these amazing uses of ceramic, could you imagine your day-to-day life without it? To those who think that ceramic is a thing of the past, think again! There are a lot of vital uses of ceramic that you hardly even notice.

Ceramic is a very useful material that makes our life so much easier. So, if you’re looking for a material that will be good on a product you’re envisioning, why not consider ceramic?

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Creative Inspiration From Nature

Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in Ceramics, Knowledge | Comments Off on Creative Inspiration From Nature

Even while observing industrial use ceramic objects, have you ever wondered where designers and manufacturers find their inspiration to create functional materials, large and small, which you may invariably be seeing on a regular basis during your daily routine.

It is one thing to say that urban art draws its inspiration from most forms of city and cultural life. But where have the original seeds germinated?

Perhaps today’s modern architectural designs are the best examples of this. In light of the concerted drive towards environmental sustainability, the best designs are not only aesthetically pleasing to look at; they also blend in creatively and deliberately with natural surroundings, particularly the elements.

Where natural inspiration begins

owl-287019_1280If you are just starting out as a ceramic designer at home, making mainly pottery, you may be the first to admit that you will be stepping outside into your own garden to take a look around you.

Researching dozens of art books and scanning websites for functional designs and ideas is one thing, but the best source of inspiration could be found right outside your door. The next time you do step outside; don’t forget to take your sketch pad with you.

Industrial design artists are mostly seen with sophisticated digital cameras to observe, view and capture precise interpretations of their surroundings. But the creative process of settling down on your porch step or lawn chair and sketching with your own hands what you see and smell, enhances your experience as a ceramic artist and will inevitably lead to the creation of something original which has the stamp of your own personality and feelings all over it.

Natural inspiration is far beyond your walls. So, set aside a weekend and take a drive into the lush, green countryside.

Become part of nature

Apart from closely observing, touching and inhaling all of your new natural surroundings, you could take the creative process a step further by immersing yourself more in these surroundings and wholly becoming part of it. Fair to say, most great artists have done this. Nature’s flora and fauna may be wild at heart but as the designated custodian, you still have an advantage, in spite of dangers and depending on how far you are prepared to go to satiate your artistic curiosity.

Of course, you’re going to have to be well prepared, particularly during the early stages of your creative journey. Depending what role you are prepared to adopt during your excursion, you could begin by visiting websites such as these to see what you’ll need. By now, you will have already packed your sketch pad, pencils, charcoal and, indeed, your camera.

Before long, you will have enough material to keep you busy throughout the winter months. Once you’ve finished crafting your first pot, you don’t need to wait long before the next idea comes to you. It’s already there.

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Creating a Safe Environment To Work In

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Ceramics, Knowledge | Comments Off on Creating a Safe Environment To Work In

clay-figure-198644_1280One of the first exercises you will be carrying out when setting up your first workshop to start your new pottery habit is to make your working environment as safe as possible.

This environment is usually your own private enclave in which you can place as much concentration into what you are trying to create. But in the domestic environment, this is not always easy to achieve, particularly if you have a family.

Someone is bound to invade your private space, whether to call you in for dinner, or to proudly share a piece of good news.

Safety procedures

The most important safety aspect is making sure your work room is locked tight after you have finished up for the day. Harmful toxins abound in this creative working environment. So too, some of your latest creations which need time to set. Ventilation and temperature is also important, so make sure that these factors are set to specifications. Before leaving your shed at night, make sure that all tools are cleaned and stored away. Make sure that containers of paints and lacquers are also shut tight and stored away in hard to reach places. This measure is necessary when children are part of the household.

Creating a sanitary environment

Where cleaning tools and surfaces are concerned, make sure that the basins in which you do your washing up are properly sanitized and thoroughly cleaned up after utensils are cleaned and dried. Because the emphasis is on creating a sanitary environment and creating crafted goods that are unspoiled by harmful toxins and excessive dust particles, you could give consideration to installing an industrial use water softener filter. It’s also possible to install one filter for the entire household but ideally you will be using qualified maintenance technicians for this task.

The importance of clean water

It is not immediately noticed by the naked eye but water has an important role to play in the creation of ceramic products. To counter the harmful and poisonous toxins that are used during industrial manufacturing processes, the quality of water used is vital. On the much smaller scale of your pottery workshop, this is as important. Having a water softener installed will go some way in helping to make sure that your drying articles solidify perfectly.

It will also go far in creating the ideal sanitary working environment. To reflect on just how acute the problem of impure water is, think about those old baths and basins which had grime and rust stains on them. On closer examination, you may have experienced some form of irritation during your bathing ritual. These are the telling signs of toxic, dirty water.

Good health is important too

Pottery draws on all your resources, emotionally, mentally and physically. It is therefore essential that you make sure that you are in good condition for long hours of working alone in your shed. While you are about it, don’t forget to step outside, take a break and take in a deep breath of fresh air.

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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.

jugs

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?

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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.

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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.

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