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A man-made solid produced by the fusion of non-metallic mineral substances in a kiln.
The term 'ceramic industry' or 'pottery industry' are subjective terms that can mean different things in different circles. In recent years the field of non-oxide ceramics has become popular, thus the term 'ceramics' now generally refers to thermally treated, non-metal, non-gaseous products like glass, sanitary ware, spark plugs, porcelain, abrasives, etc. Ceramics distinguish themselves in their hardness and resistance to heat.

The fired ceramic matrix is composed of crystalline particles (of alumina and silica or oxides thereof) that bond and points of contact (refractories) or that are bonded by a glass (that has melting during firing to fill voids between the particles). Porcelains contain the most glass, terra cotta low fired ceramics the least. As ceramic is fired higher shrinkage and densification occur.

Out Bound Links

  • (Glossary) Glass vs. Crystalline

    In ceramic technology the term 'glass' is contrasted with the crystalline state, it is seen as a "super-cooled liquid". When crystalline materials solidify the molecules have opportunity to orient themselves in the preferred pattern during freezing whereas in a glass the random orientation of molecu...

  • (Glossary) Refractory

    Refractory, as a noun, refers to a material that does not melt at normal kiln temperatures (of the industry being referenced). The term also refers to the capacity a material to withstand heat without deforming or melting. Kiln shelves and firebricks are refractory. Many natural clays and minerals a...

  • (Glossary) Sinter, sintering

    The term "sintered" refers to the particle-to-partice bonding and packing that occurs within a ceramic matrix as temperature increases. Sintering is a process as well as a state. Sintered bodies are not vitrified; the process occurs without any glass development (melting) to glue particles together....

  • (Glossary) Glass-Ceramic Glazes

    Glass-ceramic frits are made by the controlled devitrification (crystallization) of a composition to create a homogeneous structure in a glassy matrix. Glaze employing these crystalline frits have improved hardness. Glass ceramic coatings are common on tiles because of their superior abrasion resist...

By Tony Hansen

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