From Properties of Ceramics

Types of Ceramics

Ceramics can be categorized into three main groups: refractory, glass, and clay.

Refractory Materials

Materials that retain their strength at high temperatures are called refractory materials. These materials are composed of Carbides of Silicon and Oxides of Magnesium (Magnetite), Calcium (Lime), and Zirconium. Fireclay is another type of refractory material that you can use to make products, such as crucibles and refractory linings, which are used to line furnaces and kilns. Fireclay is very strong at high temperatures.

To learn more about refractory materials, see the Classification, Manufacture, Properties, and Applications of Refractory Materials handbook.


Glass is a uniform amorphous material, which solidifies from the liquid state without crystallization. Glass is amorphous, hard, brittle, and transparent solid. The most familiar form of glass is the silica-based material containing about 70 percent amorphous Silicon Dioxide (SiO 2). Glass is a biologically inactive, inert material, which is transparent and strong. It is brittle and can break easily. It is obtained when white sand is fused with alkaline earth metal oxides and carbonates. Glass is also created naturally from volcanic magma and is referred to as obsidian, which is usually impure and black in color. This mixture of glass in liquid state can be represented as:

xM<sub2</sub>O, yM<sup1</sup>O.6SiO<sub2</sub>


  • M: Monovalent alkali earth metal

  • M 1: Bivalent metal

  • x, y: Simple integers

The main raw materials required to manufacture glass are:

  • Silica

  • Alkali metal, such as Sodium and Potassium

  • Compounds of alkaline earth metals, such as Calcium...

Products & Services
Silica, Quartz, and Silicate Materials
Silica, quartz and silicate materials include fused silica, quartz, kaolin or clay-based materials, cordierite, steatite, forsterite, sillimanite, zircon, porcelain, and fireclay. They are based on silicon dioxide and various chemical variations.
Refractory Cements and Raw Materials
Refractory cements and raw materials consist of castables, rams, aggregates and binders that are resistant to high temperatures.
Thermal and Refractory Ceramics
Thermal and refractory ceramics are inorganic, engineered materials that are designed for high-temperature applications. They are used for thermal insulation and fire proofing, and also as structural materials. Additional applications include wear parts and tooling, electrical and electronic components, glass manufacturing, materials processing, corrosion protection, and ballistics.
Refractory Services
Refractory services for manufacturing, installing and repairing refractory shapes or monolithic refractories.
Ceramic Fabrication Services
Ceramic fabrication services produce parts and assemblies made of ceramic or refractory materials for electrical, thermal, optical, wear and mechanical, or structural applications

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