Ceramics

Ceramic materials:

  • are solids made by baking a starting material in a very hot oven or kiln
  • are hard and tough
  • have very many different uses

You will have seen ceramic materials coated in a tough glaze in bathrooms. They are hard and tough, and waterproof.

Bathroom with ceramic toilet, sink and tiles
Ceramic materials are used to make wall tiles, baths, sinks and toilets

Bricks

Bricks are ceramic materials made by baking moulded clay.

Advantages of bricks:

  • They are hard, so not easy to scratch
  • They are strong under compression, so a house will not be crushed under its own weight

Disadvantages of bricks:

  • They are brittle, so the bricks can break if handled carelessly during construction
Bricks
Bricks are strong and durable, making them ideal for building houses

Pottery

People have been making and using pottery for thousands of years. Pottery is made by moulding clay into the desired shape and baking it in a kiln. The high temperature drives out all the water, and causes chemical reactions that make the clay stronger and harder. Pottery is usually decorated with a tough, coloured glaze. Like bricks, it is hard and strong, but also brittle. Plates tend to break if dropped onto the floor.

Ceramic plate
Pottery is brittle and can be damaged