Ceramic is one type of non-metallic solid that is formed through heating and cooling. It encompasses all materials that come from either naturally occurring non-metallic quarry resources (e.g., clay and silica) or from modern synthetic materials, like oxides (i.e., alumina, zirconia) or non-oxides (e.g., carbides, borides, and nitrides). Ceramic is inorganic, inert, resilient in wet environments, rust-proof, lightweight, hard, resistant to very high temperature, very strong in compression, weak in tension, chemically-resistant, has non-electric conducting properties, and is often crystalline. These are some of the major positive attributes of ceramics that make it a perfect partner for metals and alloys in coming up with products of high quality. On the other hand, ceramic is brittle, relatively expensive, requires high-technology processes, and susceptible to being ruined when subject to heavy loads. These drawbacks are what metals and alloys offset.
Ceramic industry is regarded as one of the oldest forms of arts known to mankind - it was used in sculpture and artistic pottery. Nowadays, Ceramic is used in a far wider range of industries, such as civil construction (roof tiles, bricks, knives, pipes, etc.), domestic (tableware, decorative materials, sanitary ware, kitchen ware, etc.), military or defense (armoured vests, parts of military airplanes, parts of armor vessels, ballistic projections, missile cones, etc.), automobile (ceramic engine, jet engine turbine blades), healthcare and synthetics (denture, synthetic bones, and other orthopaedic materials), and even in the world of semiconductors (transistors). Evolution in ceramic technology is fast-faced. It is almost unbelievable how ceramic industry has reached its present state from where it started decades ago.
It was during 1950s when engineers and scientists started to be at the hype of research in making metals/alloys and ceramic meet in the middle. In the United States, research and training programs about ceramics were funded by the government in 1980s in view of seeing its potential not just in terms of commercial marketability but in terms of coming up with products that would otherwise be unimaginable. The continuous growth of ceramic industry relies on discovery of new and more market opportunities and this is where research comes in.
Nowadays, firms in these industries are in continuous search for ceramic engineers to drive the further innovation and advances in this field. Due to insistent demands from different industries, many colleges and universities now offer Ceramic Engineering and Science courses, where techniques and theoretical knowledge about ceramic processes are discussed. Ceramic technology is also highly discussed in Materials Science, Material Engineering, and Metallurgical Engineering degree programs. These training grounds open a door for graduates to be an integral part (as researcher, as process engineer, as inventor, or as industry leader) of multidisciplinary, high-end engineering sectors, where material engineering is very critical. Ceramic industry requires very strong background and founding knowledge of the ceramic science and engineering. Despite the high demand, it was unfortunate that in the United States, there is relatively low enrolment in degree programs in Ceramics. One reason may be the lack of awareness of High School graduates on what this field offers them.
The Ceramic industry has the commitment to produce highly-efficient and high-performance products in any industry possible. It takes someone with deep interest in engineering, science, and innovation to succeed in this field where possibilities are unlimited and great career is close to certain.
Here you can find schools to study Ceramics. Choose where you would like to study Ceramics: