Fired ceramic that contains no oxygen in the crystal structure. Examples are boron nitride (BN) and silicon barbide (SiC). Hundreds of different types of these materials exist (dozens of boron derivatives alone). These products exhibit a range of amazing properties including hardness, resistance to corrosion and heat, compressive strength, etc. Many of these materials are machined into parts that are literally ten times better than their metal ancestors.
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In the ceramic industry, refractory materials are those that can withstand a high temperature without deforming or melting. Refractories are used to build and furnish kilns.
This term generally refers to the industry that produces the non-metallic objects we use every day (like porcelain, tile, glass, stoneware).