Different Types of Ceramics

Most of you have probably heard of ceramic floor tile, and then some may even know that porcelain tile is also in fact a type of ceramic, but what are the different types? And why are there different types also?

Since we have helped many homeowners get connected with ceramic tile companies, we thought it was a good idea to actually create a more in-depth article to better help introduce you to the material too so that you can understand the nuances.

If you’re curious, we also encourage you to try pressing some of the different links that we include throughout this article to make it easier for you to navigate the site and learn whatever it is you wish to learn as a consequence.

Different Types of Ceramics You Need to Know About

The material, ceramics, is one that you can say has stood the test of time given the fact that it wasn’t invented yesterday. In fact, thousands of years of usage has led to where we are today. There’s however a big difference between the early versions of the material, and what tile manufacturers are able to make today, and inventions such as the inkjet technology now means that you no longer need to install hardwood flooring in order to get that beautiful wooden look that so many homeowners absolutely love.

You can now get ceramic tile that looks like wood, and it can even be installed as bathroom flooring. A look that previously wasn’t possible because the many different materials simply couldn’t withstand the moisture present in a bathroom. It can also be made to look like stone, another popular finish allowed by the technology.  The material is also used for a range of things like superconductors and catalytic converters.

Yes, there’s a little bit of difference between superconductors and the wall tiles that the material may be more known for, and that leads us to the next point that is that is how people speak of different kinds of ceramic, the advanced type and the traditional one. We’ll get into more detail with regards to both types.

Advanced

traditional vs advanced ceramics

This is not the stuff you will be installing on your wall to make it pretty, as you might’ve been able to imagine. This is the stuff that has very special purposes, and they can be used for a range of things like cutting tools. The nose that goes on space rockets, which needs to be able to withstand the incredible heat that it’s exposed to from the speed it travels at in the atmosphere.

It can also be used in combination with other materials, which is often carbon fibers, or other types of fibers to give it the desired properties. It also plays an important part in jet engines. Advanced ceramics is a rather new invention and most of the major developments have happened over the last 50 years.

Traditional

Different tiles

The traditional kind is usually what most people think of when they think of ceramics, and it’s the stuff that’s used for masonry, pottery, porcelain, tile and more. It’s the stuff that they sometimes find that will be dug out from some hole and then turns out to be thousands of years old. Although it’s a simpler material than the advanced one, it has a bunch of purposes inside homes, and if you get the right material, it can even be used outside homes too. You will also want to make sure that you find the type that best matches the purpose you will be using it for.

The way they’re produced means they can be used for s many different things, even roof installations in the shape of clay tile roofing material.

However, as the material has gotten more and more advanced, the different things it’s being used for has rapidly expanded. When you’re picking ceramics, you know you’re picking a material with a long lifespan if it’s used correctly. While you can’t just use ceramics outside without consideration for potential freeze and thaw cycles, when used according to the recommendations of the manufacturer, you can get a material that will basically not show wear after 20 years, which can’t be said for other types of material like vinyl flooring.

It’s such a common material, that most toilets are made from it. Partly filled with water day in and day out requires serious properties from the material to keep it from developing mold and suffering from water damage. To put things in perspective, if you don’t make sure to paint or stain cedar siding, you’ll soon start seeing it deteriorating, and that is without being constantly filled with water.

Clay or Structural

Clay-based ceramics is usually what we think of with regards to ceramics, and they’re used for pottery, bricks and by being pressed so that they have the right shape, they can then go on to the process of being fired, at which point their properties change too. The pressing is done while the material is still wet, and once it’s been fired, the clay can’t be recycled anymore and turned into other things. That’s not to say it can’t be reused as it can be used for driveways after being crushed. This clay-based material can also get different properties because of the original particle size that was used, as well as the temperatures in the kiln, and these things will affect its water absorption rate as well as the insulating properties too.

So if you were previously wondering which type of ceramics was used for bricks, it’s this one.

Refractories

This is an insulating material that is additionally able to withstand incredible heat, intended to stand against temperatures higher than 1,000°F. It also has great resistance towards physical wear and is why it’s used in modern manufacturing. Did you know it plays an important role in the refining of gasoline? The way they’re produced includes interlocking shapes and wedges intended for floors and walls alike. This is also what the shield on space  rockets is made of.

Electrical

The electrical properties gives it a range of uses, and it means it’s used in electronics and automation. This type is called elecetroceramics. This invention has led to the development of things such as non-volatile memories. With higher temperatures, it also becomes more conductive.

Magnetic

The two types, superconducting magnets and low conductivity magnets is what this category is made up of, and these product will go into transformers, for instance.

Abrasive

When you want to use ceramics for cutting or grinding other materials, this is the kind you’re talking about. In order to be able to cut or grind other things, the material needs to be harder than the things it’s up against.

If you wish to read more about its industrial uses, we suggest you visit Elan Technology’s page on it.

What Are the Properties of Ceramics?

The properties of ceramics depends on which type it is you’re talking about, and some of them would be prohibitively expensive to use for other purposes. While building a brick house is more expensive than using wooden construction framing, how cool would it be to have your home built from the stuff that goes on a rocket ship? Yea, we all think it’d be cool, but it’s not feasible, as no person would be paying what it would cost.

The traditional type of ceramics has a price point that makes it possible to use it for things such as bricks, while still being very hard and wear-resistant. The increased hardness obviously means that it’s less prone to damaging, but ceramic bricks are already sufficiently strong to handle most of the things thrown at it.

Since it gets fired in a kiln, you probably figured that it’s also very heat-resistant, and it’s pretty insulating in general, although the insulating properties become less when the material gets denser, which is why porcelain is such a great material for radiant floor heating. It will heat the tile, and not just force the heat into the foundation instead. Unfortunately, without the additional heat source, this material is likely to feel rather cold under your feet.

Although it has so many great properties, it suffers from the fact that it can crack when exposed to physical shocks.

How Hard is Ceramic?

Since ceramic isn’t just one specific thing, the nature of this question depends on the specific type. Porcelain is harder than traditional ceramics, but some of the other types are even harder in order to have the heat-resistant properties required for a space ship.

What is Ceramic Made of?

Once again, it’s important to be aware of the different types that are available and that it is not the same material that goes into all of them, but the traditional kind like tiles, pottery and bricks will consist of a mixture of clay, earthen elements, and water in order to get the paste that you may have seen, or even used yourself, and it’s then turned into its functional form and dried and fired. The kiln is the specific oven that is used for the purpose. In addition, a glaze consisting of melted glass may be fused with the surface of the tile to provide protection against water, since ceramic is a porous material.

What Temperature Does Ceramic Melt at?

Although it’s known for its ability to handle heat well, there’s still a point at which point it gives up. Aluminum siding will usually start melting around 1,220oF. Around 2900 degrees Fahrenheit is usually the area where normal ceramics start to melt.

We’ll leave you with a random fact you probably didn’t know about the material. It has in fact been used ever since 25,000 BCE, although it wasn’t until 1986 that the use in superconductors was discovered.