Ceramics are made from clay, sand and feldspar (a rock that has metals present in compound form, but not as an ore). These materials are ground to a fine powder, mixed together and fired at high temperatures (700-2000°C).

Traditional ceramic materials include bricks and cement, clay products and earthenware and silicate glass. They are often hard and strong but brittle and can break easily.

More advanced ceramics have been developed with some of the following desirable properties:

  • hard wearing
  • resistant to high temperatures
  • good corrosion resistance
  • low conductivity of electricity and heat

This wide range of properties provides several advantages to using ceramics over other materials. They offer more heat-resistance and corrosion-resistance than traditional polymers, they are less dense than most metals (and their alloys) but harder than steel. Ceramics are also cheap to produce as the raw materials they are made from are readily available and inexpensive.