Ceramics is the art of creating an object by shaping material, traditionally clay, and firing it in a kiln at a high temperature. The earliest ceramics were pots, vessels or figurines made from clay. Modern ceramic materials such as silicon carbide and tungsten carbide are classified as advanced ceramics and are used in a variety of fields, such as medicine and electronics.
Ceramic materials are brittle, hard and strong. They can withstand high temperatures and are resistant to corrosion. The most common ceramic materials are clay, glass and porcelain.
Clay is the primary material used in the manufacture of ceramics. It is a natural, earthy substance that is sintered (heated without melting) to form a variety of shapes.
Glass is another common ceramic material. It is made by melting silica sand, soda ash and limestone at high temperatures. The molten glass is then shaped into desired objects and cooled.
Porcelain is a type of ceramic that is made from kaolin clay and feldspar. It is fired at a high temperature to create a hard, white material that is used in a variety of applications, such as dinnerware, bathroom fixtures and electrical insulators.
Ceramic materials can be processed into a wide variety of shapes using traditional methods such as hand-building, casting and shaping. However, modern ceramics are also produced using advanced manufacturing techniques such as injection molding and 3D printing.
Ceramic products are used in a variety of industries, including architecture, aerospace, automotive, chemical, electrical, medical, thermal processing and art.
In art, ceramics can be used to create sculptures, pottery, mosaics and other decorative objects.