Ceramic Engineering is the technology of manufacturing and usage of ceramic materials. Many engineering applications benefit from ceramics characteristics as a material. The characteristics of ceramics have garnered attention from engineers across the world, including those in the fields: Electrical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and many others. Highly regarded for being resistant to heat, ceramics can be used for many demanding tasks that other materials like Metal and Polymers can't.
Ceramics, in addition to being a fine art, also requires a thorough working knowledge of certain materials. Whether we need to design a new office building, or a vase for our bedroom, we need a ceramic engineer. Someone has to figure out our creative designs into a reality and here walks in the engineer. A ceramicist joins ceramics and engineering and helps us to create new and more interesting works with new materials, which we cant, even dream of.
The multibillion-dollar ceramic industry converts processed materials and raw materials taken directly from the earth (clay, sand, etc.) into such useful products as spark plugs, glass, electronic components, nuclear materials, abrasives, rocket components, and even tableware. High-temperature processing is the key to ceramic engineering, and the products are always inorganic, nonmetallic solids.
Ceramic Engineers experienced in both scientific and production aspects of the profession may also work as administrators, project supervisors, sales engineers or technical consultants to firms using ceramic materials.
Many Ceramic Engineers work in the nuclear field, as ceramic fuel materials make nuclear power generation possible.
The electronics industry is a growth area for this technology, as ceramics are used as insulators for transistors and integrated circuits.
Refractory ceramics are required in the refining of iron and aluminum, and this industry is especially in need of this type of worker.
The exciting new field of fiber optics has had a dramatic effect on today's telecommunication and medical industries, and since ceramic components are used, Ceramic Engineers are playing a vital role in this new science. Ceramic Engineers experienced in both scientific and production aspects of the profession may also work as administrators, project supervisors, sales engineers or technical consultants to firms using ceramic materials.
Nature of Work
CERAMIC ENGINEERS help to develop varied products as protective tiles for space shuttles, ceramic fillings for teeth, Unbreakable dinner plates, and sophisticated telescope lenses. Ceramics have applications in virtually any industry, which demands the use of heat-resistant materials.
Ceramic Engineers are specialists in the study of these materials, their behavior, application, and use. They develop methods for processing nonmetallic inorganic materials into many ceramic products ranging from glassware, fiber optics products, cement, and bricks, to coatings for space vehicles, materials for microelectronics, components of nuclear fuel, and pollution control devices. Recent advances in physics and chemistry have expanded the applications of ceramic engineering.
The major functions of Ceramic Engineers are Research, product development, and production engineering. The engineer is frequently challenged to produce new ideas and to suggest solutions to difficult problems. Engineers may have extensive responsibilities such as preparing labor cost analyses or troubleshooting problems.
From a single chemical source, ceramic engineers make useful materials in many forms:
- Develop improved heat tiles to protect the space shuttle and the future supersonic space plane from the searing heat of reentry into the earth's atmosphere.
- Produce ceramic teeth, bones, and joints to replace parts of the human body or improve advanced medical equipment to continue research in the way against disease.
- Help make innovative, ultra-fast computer systems using ceramic superconductors, lasers, and glass optical fibers.
- Develop materials to enclose and support aircraft engines that run at high temperatures.
- Improve fiber optic cables that allow doctors to see inside the human body and permit the human voice to travel thousands of miles under the ocean without distortion.
- Discover new ways to use ceramics to build highways and bridges, or to carry water and waste to treatment plants.
Those who work in these fields have been trained in Chemical engineering, Chemistry (for manufacturing), Mechanical engineering (for the study of strength, wear, etc.), or Electrical engineering and Physics (for optimization of electric or Magnetic applications). Recently the field has come to include the studies of single crystals or glass fibers, in addition to traditional Polycrystalline materials, and the applications of these have been overlapping and changing rapidly.
Colleges, Institutions and Universities
Ceramic Engineers often specialize in one or more products:
- White wares these are porcelain and china dinnerware or high voltage electrical insulators
- Structural materials these are brick, tile, and turbine blades,
- Electronic ceramics are magnetics, memory systems, and microwave devices), protective
- Refractory coatings for metals, glass products, abrasives, and fuel elements for nuclear energy.
- One of the top priority projects of Ceramic Engineers is the development of a ceramic engine which would replace the present diesel, gasoline and turbo engines.