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Engineering ceramics

Engineering ceramics are structured and functional ceramics used in applications differing from those employing classical utility ceramics such as brick, clinker, ovenware, porcelain, sanitary ceramics or tiles. However, the differentiation is not only made in terms of applications, but also material. Clay and silicate ceramics are therefore considered utility ceramics, while all others are oxidic, non-oxidic and mixed ceramics such as aluminium oxide, zirconium oxide, silicon carbide or lead zirconate titanate, just to mention a few, and designated engineering or technical ceramics.

Ceramic materials whose characteristics have been specifically optimised to suit the majority of industrial applications are used in compliance with the requirements catalogue. They can resist temperatures of up to 2500°C in furnace construction and burner systems. Ceramic bearing casings in gas turbines operate with minimal wear at speeds of several thousand revolutions per minute and temperatures of about 1500 °C. Pumps with ceramic friction bearings utilised in sea water desalination plants convey sea water heavily contaminated with sand for years without exhibiting any noticeable erosion or corrosion. Use of ceramic components in spark plugs and as condensers or insulators still belongs to the most important applications in terms of numbers. The variation spectrum of these materials is best demonstrated in this area. While some electrically insulate, others (supraconductors) conduct electrical current with absolutely no resistance!

The range of processes for producing components from engineering ceramics is as broad as the materials spectrum. However, almost all share important procedure characteristics. A green compact is made of a raw mass (sludge, feedstock) or powder at a comparatively low temperature which only obtains its material characteristics in a sintering process at high temperatures. The material properties of ceramic products are therefore inseparable associated with the characteristics of raw materials and the production process, consisting of preparation, shaping and sintering. The engineering skill lies herein – in precision influencing of microstructures through shaping and in the sintering process.

| SiC

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| Al2O3

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| MgO

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| ZrO2

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| Mixed Ceramics

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