When the word ceramic is mentioned, most people would easily relate this material to pottery and china. Today, ceramics can be found in many advanced applications, not just as water containers.
Advanced ceramics in engineering are used in industries such automotive. Ceramics are able to withstand extreme temperatures and abrasive conditions. These ceramics are coated on metal surfaces to further enhance the physical properties of the part in use. For instance, the pistons in engines are coated with ceramic materials to increase the wear resistance.
With more powerful engines, the friction generated could easily destroy any other materials, say metal. Disc brakes made of ceramic materials are now in used, replacing traditional braking systems which would wear out easily in a short period of time.
In the aerospace industry, ceramic materials are obvious choices as a coating for turbine blades. These turbine blades spin at very high speeds to produce to produce enough thrust to propel an entire aircraft. Without a ceramic coating, these blades have to be replaced frequently, which isn’t very cost effective.
Piezoceramics are a kind of ceramic material which could produce electric potential when stresses are applied. These ceramics can be used as sensors which are able to pick up applied force or pressure. Since World War 1, these ceramics are used to produce sonar, which is underwater radar.
With the advancement in the field of engineering, the common materials around us can be put to good use in the more sophisticated devices which we would operate.