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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.

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By Tony Hansen

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