Different Types of Ceramics

Different Types of Ceramics Around the World

There are more varieties of ceramics than just the clay type. Some ceramics are made of glass and metallic oxides. How are you supposed to mold that with a kiln, you ask? I need some questions answered too. Let’s explore the different types of ceramics.

Metallic Oxides


Well, it turns out that some ceramics are mixed with metallic oxides. This ceramic type is usually utilized for Type II to Type IV semi-conductors. These ceramic semi-conductors are often used as surge protectors. Metallic oxide ceramics are used by electrical substations as protection against lightning strikes.

Glass Ceramics


Glass ceramics are predominantly used as material in the making of electric cooktops. It is also used to make dishes that are resistant to thermal shock. For example, glasses, cups, bowls, and plates, usually break or shatter when taken from one extreme temperature to the other. Try pouring hot water into an ordinary crystal bowl taken from the freezer. Glass ceramics are very tough, strong, can be opaque or translucent, and accepts pigmentation.

Nitrides and Carbides


At low temperatures, nitrides gain super-conductive properties; otherwise, nitrides are semi-conductive. These same properties are shared by metallic oxides. As stated above, ceramics that carry these properties are often used against lightning strikes and surge protection. Carbides are derived from carbon compounds that have single or multiple elements of metal.

Carbon and Graphite


Graphite ceramics have excellent electrical conduction properties. Unfortunately, graphite ceramics primarily have a soft structure. Graphite ceramics are composed several layers. Within these layers, the internal bonding is very tight. Outside, the bonding from layer to layer is loose. This is the primary reason why graphite is used in making pencils. Carbon is an element infused into ceramics to make it stronger. Carbon ceramics have a high temperature threshold at 1500 C. Carbon is also an element that bonds ceramic layers together.



Porcelain ceramics have many uses. They are utilized for making tableware like plates, bowls, cups and glasses. In the water closet, porcelain is used to make the sink, the commode, the tub, the tiles, and sometimes, the jacuzzi. Porcelain ceramics are also used as electric insulators. In medicine, porcelain has become one of the primary materials used for some replacement body parts like teeth, and also for hip replacements.

Ceramic Fibers


Ceramic fibers are those elements that can be infused into the ceramic matrix to make the ceramic structure stronger. These elements are mostly made of glass or metal elements such as carbon.



Alumina is a ceramic fiber that isn’t as strong as carbon. However, it still finds its use as an insulator.

Beryllium Oxides


These are primarily used for heat sinks in computer CPUs and solar panels. Beryllium oxide ceramics are also used by gas lasers to analyze tissue and DNA, fiber optics, and plenty of other communication applications, including radar.



Zirconia is a tough ceramic additive that can tolerate 2500 C temperatures. Zirconia ceramics are being scrutinized by space aviation engineers for use with re-usable space transports. Aside from its heat resisting property, it is also being studied for what it can contribute to aerodynamics.

Carbon/Carbon Composites


Carbon and its composites are the tougher materials that can be added to a ceramic matrix. Carbon fiber and carbon fiber composites are being used in industries that require groundbreaking technology. Among these industries are the space industry, the airline industry, and the Formula One industry.

Silicon Nitride


Silicon Nitride is an abrasive powder. In ceramic form, it is strong and resistant to heat. It is strong enough to be made into a thruster for rockets.

Boron Carbide


Boron carbide is utilized as parts of body armor, an abrasive, and lubricant.

Silicon Carbide


Silicon carbide is a heat resistant material, tough enough to resist abrasion, and strong enough to stop bullets. They are found in the ceramic disc brakes of a Porsche Carrera, and in ballistic vests’ inner plates.

Tungsten Carbides


Like silicon carbide, tungsten carbide is considered a modern, advanced type ceramic. They are very resistant to abrasion and heat. The mining, aerospace, medical, and electrical industries, get the most use out of tungsten carbides.



Sapphire ceramics are said to have strong optical, chemical, and mechanical attributes. Because it can be made transparent, sapphire ceramics are very much used in optical products ranging from telescopes up to heat-seeking devices for the military.

As you can see, the many different types of ceramics have many uses in our world today. Who would have thought that ceramics are as common as plastics?


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