Ceramics 250

This class identifies the major categories, properties, and uses of ceramics.

Class Details

Class Name:
Ceramics 250
This class identifies the major categories, properties, and uses of ceramics.
Number of Lessons:
Additional Language:

Class Outline

  • Objectives
  • What Is a Ceramic?
  • Natural Ceramics
  • Advantages of Ceramics
  • Disadvantages of Ceramics
  • Structure of Ceramics
  • Crystalline and Amorphous Ceramics
  • Types of Ceramics
  • Glasses
  • Structural Ceramics
  • Whiteware Ceramics
  • Refractories
  • Abrasives
  • Advanced Ceramics
  • Ceramics and Electronics
  • Ceramics in the Marketplace
  • Summary


  • Describe a ceramic.
  • Distinguish between simple and advanced ceramics.
  • Describe the advantages of ceramics.
  • Describe the disadvantages of ceramics.
  • Describe the structure of ceramics.
  • Distinguish between crystalline and amorphous structures.
  • Describe different types of ceramics.
  • Identify the main ingredient of glasses.
  • Identify the main ingredient of structural ceramics.
  • Describe the creation of whiteware ceramics.
  • Identify the key property of refractories.
  • Identify the ceramics used as abrasives.
  • Describe the uses of advanced ceramics.
  • Describe the role of ceramics in electronics.
  • Describe ceramics in relation to the marketplace.

Job Roles


  • CMfgT
  • MSSC Manufacturing Processes and Production


Vocabulary Term Definition
abrasive A type of ceramic material that is very hard and wear resistant. Abrasives also refer to tools used to wear away and remove material.
advanced ceramic A type of ceramic used in specialized, recently developed applications. Advanced ceramics often have simple chemical compositions, but they are difficult to manufacture.
alumina Another name for aluminum oxide. Alumina is frequently used as an abrasive and as a refractory material.
aluminum oxide A ceramic compound that is commonly used as an abrasive and refractory material. Aluminum oxide is very effective for machining steel. It is also referred to as alumina.
amorphous Lacking a definite repeating form, shape, or structure.
bioceramic An advanced ceramic used to create components suitable for use or replacement in the human body.
bonding material A material used to hold together the ceramic particles in an abrasive tool.
brittle Likely to break or fracture if stretched, bent, or shaped.
capacitor A material capable of storing an electrical charge.
cemented carbide A compound developed by the combination of carbon with usually tungsten, titanium, or tantalum. It is used in metal cutting tools for its hardness and wear resistance.
ceramic A material consisting of compounds formed by metallic and nonmetallic elements. Ceramics include traditional materials such as brick and clay, as well as advanced ceramics used as abrasives, cutting tools, or electronic components.
cermet A material consisting of ceramic particles held together by a metallic binder. Cermets are used to make cutting tools.
clay A group of common, naturally occuring ceramic materials. A clay containing moisture is easily shaped. Clay solidifies as it dries.
composite A material that is a combination of other materials from two or more of the following groups: metals, plastics, and ceramics.
compound A substance consisting of the atoms of two or more different elements in fixed proportions. Compounds can only be broken down by chemical processes.
compression strength The ability of a material to resist forces that attempt to compress or squeeze the material together.
covalent bond A type of atomic bond that occurs when two atoms share electrons. Covalent bonds are relatively strong.
crystal structure The repeating arrangement of the same type of atom that creates a uniform, repeating structure.
element A basic substance consisting only of atoms that share the same number of protons.
feldspar A type of ceramic material that is often included in whiteware products. Feldspar aids in the formation of a glassy structure.
firebrick Any ceramic material available in brick form used in the construction of high-temperature furnaces.
fireclay A type of refractory ceramic that is the most common material used to make firebricks.
firing The heating of ceramic materials at elevated temperatures to solidify the material and improve its strength. Firing can create a glassy structure.
glasses A type of ceramic material characterized by its noncrystalline structure. Glasses do not solidify at a specific temperature. Instead, they gradually solidify as the temperature decreases.
grain A repeating arrangement of either the same type of atom or different atoms that creates a uniform, repeating structure.
hardness The ability of a material to resist penetration, indentation, or scratching.
ionic bond A type of atomic bond that occurs when one atom borrows one or more electrons from another atom. Ionic bonds are relatively strong.
kaolinite The principal material that is found in most clays. Kaolinite bonds tightly with water molecules, allowing it to be easily shaped.
metallic bond A type of atomic bond that occurs when atoms share electrons that float about in a general electron cloud. Metallic bonds are weaker than ionic or covalent bonds.
opaque Unable to transmit or reflect light. Opaque materials are not transparent.
piezoelectric A material that generates an electrical charge when subjected to mechanical stresses.
polycrystalline Having a collection of multiple crystal grain structures with different orientations.
porosity The presence of tiny openings or spaces within a material.
refraction The bending of light as it passes from one medium to the next.
refractory A type of ceramic that can withstand extremely high temperatures. Refractories are used in industrial furnaces.
semiconductor A ceramic material that is partially effective at conducting electricity. Semiconductors are essential in the field of electronics.
shear strength The ability of a material to resist forces that attempt to cause the material to slide against itself.
silica A white ceramic compound that is commonly used to make a wide variety of glasses. Silica is also used in refractory materials. Silica tends to cool into an amorphous material. Also called silicon dioxide.
silicon carbide An abrasive ceramic that is harder than aluminum oxide but less suitable for machining steel.
sintering The pressing and heating of powdered materials to create a solid shape. Sintering creates materials with very uniform contents.
structural ceramic A common traditional ceramic used in the construction industry. Structural ceramics include brick, clay pipes, and concrete.
superconductor A material that conducts electricity with very little or no resistance to the flow of electrons.
tensile strength The ability of a material to resist forces that attempt to pull apart or stretch it.
toughness The ability of a material to withstand forces or sudden impacts that attempt to break it.
traditional ceramic A type of ceramic used in traditional applications such as construction, earthenware, and glassware. Traditional ceramics are chemically complex, but they are common, inexpensive, and easy to manufacture.
tungsten carbide A ceramic compound that is commonly used in metal cutting tools.
whiteware A traditional ceramic used to make pottery and porcelain. Whiteware ceramics often have a glassy structure.