What is the Definition of Ceramics?


Ceramics is the art of making porcelain, earthenware and clay objects. The concept comes from the Greek keramikos, “burnt substance” refers not only to art, but also to the set of objects produced, scientific knowledge about these objects and everything belonging to or related to ceramics.

Historians believe that pottery arose in the Neolithic period due to the need to create containers that allowed to store surplus crops. Said pottery was molded by hand and dried in the sun or around fire.

From the application of firing and the development of geometric models and drawings for the decoration of objects, pottery (the art of making clay pots) emerged.

The Chinese would have been the first to apply advanced techniques for cooking objects. His knowledge first spread to the eastern world and then to the West.

There are different techniques and products related to ceramics. The porcelain, a hard material that is usually translucent white, was developed in China between the seventh and eighth centuries.

The terracotta (“baked earth”) is older and dating back to the third century BC It is modeled clay and cooked in the oven, generally used for creating containers, sculptures and decorations.

The earthenware (varnished or glazed tile), the tile (ground with water and pressed to have a higher resistance) and majolica (having a particular glassy finish) are other related materials to ceramics.

Characteristics of materials

One of the characteristics that all the materials of this art share is their ability to isolate temperature and, on the other hand, their fragility.

These characteristics make the casting of these materials impossible and also the mechanization of their formation with tools such as milling cutters, lathes and brushes. For this reason the way to work these materials is through sintering. It is a process that consists of obtaining ceramic products (it is also used to manipulate certain metals) from elemental crushing.

It is composed of various phases: preparation of the raw material, mixing of the components that are needed to obtain the product, shaping the piece with minimal resistance to be able to handle it carefully and sintering to obtain the final product and treatment. thermal to seal the part.

The whole process is known as sintering and could be defined as an isothermal treatment of the green part to turn it into one with the resistance that is needed to be used for industrial purposes. To achieve this objective, it is necessary to have an oven that can reach the necessary temperature so that this treatment can be effective, it varies according to the material with which it is working.

From this process, more or less resistant materials can be obtained, taking into account the way in which the material has been worked and the tension between the various components managed.

In the case of porous materials, for example, vitrification has not occurred so they are permeable objects and easily fractured. Among these we can mention fired clays (they are reddish in color and are fired at a temperature of 700 to 1,000 ° C. It is used to make bricks, tiles and pots, among other elements), Italian earthenware (it is obtained from a clay yellowish and cooking is carried out at a temperature between 1,050 and 1070 ° C.).

The refractories are more resistant than the previous ones because they are produced from a more comprehensive series of steps and, once achieved, are highly resistant, withstanding temperatures up to 3000 ° C.

Among the waterproof and semi- waterproof materials we can find common or fine ceramic stoneware and they are characterized by being more refined materials, exposed to a waterproofing process that makes them extremely resistant products that prevent the passage of water. They are used for construction and for elements that must undergo significant exposure.