Ceramic products are trendy worldwide and the main reason for this is their exceptional range of properties. From heat resistance to low electrical conductivity, ceramics are characterized by features that make them so unique. Therefore, ceramic products are widely used for various applications, including the production of dishware, electrical accessories, and even artificial joints. If it is still unclear how ceramic items are used, here are ten reasons why ceramics are so important:
#1. There Are Different Types of Ceramics
While ceramics are important in general, there are different types of ceramic materials, each featuring unique properties. Therefore, they are used for slightly different applications. Two major categories of ceramic materials are oxide and non-oxide ceramics. While oxide ceramics are oxides of metallic and metalloid elements, non-oxide ceramics are primarily nitrides, carbides, and borides. Although both types of ceramics are important, non-oxide ceramics are characterized by better electrical conductivity and hardness compared to oxide ceramics.
#2. Ceramics Are Used for Making Dishware
Ceramics are often used for making dishware. Ceramic dishes, mugs, and bowls are very durable and corrosion-resistant. One of the reasons ceramic dishware is so popular worldwide is that the products are often available in gorgeous colors that fit almost every kitchen design. The vibrant colors and cool patterns of ceramic crockery provide an appetizing contrast when serving different foods.
#3. Ceramics Are Food Safe
Since ceramic plates, bowls, and mugs are made of inert bioceramic materials, they do not form bonds, and therefore, are nonreactive. Hence, most ceramic products are food safe and can be used for cooking, storing, and serving. In addition, ceramic dishes retain heat after cooking and allow you to cook food evenly. This is why ceramics are favored when cooking foods that are best consumed while warm.
#4. Ceramics Have High Melting Points
Since ceramic materials have high melting points, they are considered heat resistant. The melting temperature of most ceramics ranges from 1,000 to 2000°C, which is much higher than the melting point of numerous metals and polymers. Therefore, ceramics are widely used for high-temperature applications. For example, ultra-high-temperature ceramics (UHTCs) are typically used for making thermal protection system materials.
#5. Ceramics Are Durable
Another reason why using ceramic materials is beneficial is that ceramics are durable, which increases their versatility. As ceramics are long-lasting, investing in ceramic dishware can be the right choice. While traditional ceramics are characterized by exceptional strength, technical ceramics are even more durable. The way advanced ceramic materials are produced makes them suitable for a broad range of applications. While most ceramics are pretty durable, alumina and zirconia are two of the most popular materials for producing advanced ceramics.
#6. Ceramics Are Used for Making Floor and Wall Tiles
Another reason why ceramics are so important is that various ceramic materials are used to produce floor and wall tiles. As ceramics are characterized by exceptional strength, they make one of the most durable and long-lasting tiles on the market. When it comes to ceramic tiles, you can choose from pure ceramic or porcelain tiles while considering the pros and cons of each. While porcelain tiles absorb less water and are more hard-wearing, ceramic tiles are easier to maintain and come in a variety of colors and designs.
#7. Ceramics Are Good Insulators
Ceramics are often used for making ceramic fiber insulation products. Since refractory ceramic fiber (RCF) is a lightweight material that does not retain heat and offers lower thermal conductivity than other products, it can be used when traditional refractories are not quite suitable. While providing sufficient thermal resistance, RCF can be manufactured in various shapes and designs. Some of the most popular applications of ceramic fiber insulating products are associated with furnace lining, flexible pipes, fire doors, and special heat-resistant containers.
#8. Ceramics Are Used for Making Electrical Accessories
As mentioned above, some ceramics are made into insulating materials that do not conduct electricity. However, various ceramic materials, such as graphite, are excellent conductors of electricity. Although graphite is not composed of inorganic compounds, it is still considered a ceramic material. The main reason graphite is a good conductor is that each carbon atom in a graphite molecule has a spare electron and these delocalized electrons move freely, enabling graphite to conduct electricity.
#9. Ceramics Are Used as an Alternative to Metal Artificial Joints
Traditionally, prosthetic joints were made of metals. In the mid-1970s, scientists discovered that prolonged usage of metal-on-metal prostheses could lead to metallosis, build-up and deposition of metal debris in the soft tissues. And this is when ceramic-on-ceramic implants came into play. In 1970, a French surgeon introduced the very first artificial ceramic hip joint. As ceramic implants offer reduced wear rates and are biocompatible in the long term, they are ideal for hip and knee joint prostheses.
#10. Ceramics Are Essential to Archaeology and Anthropology
Ceramic dishware and other tools have been made by different cultures worldwide for more than 50 centuries. Traditionally, ceramic objects were made for eating and storing purposes. As ceramics have been around for so long, understanding the composition and design of pottery products helps archaeologists and anthropologists learn more about different human civilizations. When looking at ceramic objects, their styles and the types of materials indicate where and when they were produced. Therefore, ceramics are important in archaeology and anthropology, enabling scientists to explore different cultures and learn more about how they lived.