Why is ceramic used for technical and industrial applications?

Ceramics are an excellent solution when the traditional alternative materials have limitations. This happens for example in the presence of extreme temperatures, high level of wear, particularly aggressive chemicals, food and drug applications, when electrical insulation is required, etc.

What are some application examples?

Take for example dosing pumps syringes used for pharmaceutical, food and cosmetics. Ceramic is a leader in this application being an inert and non-cytotoxic material (food compatibility), with a high resistance to wear and corrosion.pistoni

Another application connected with dosing and mixing is the zirconium oxide doctor rings used in pad printing. The extremely high wear resistance, chemical inertness, zero porosity and a very low coefficient of friction make zirconium oxide the ideal material for this type of application.

In the field of high pressure, ceramics play a leading role thanks to very good wear and abrasion resistance that provide excellent performance. Application examples are pistons and nozzles for high-pressure pumps and systems.

Ceramic is also used as an electrical insulator in cartridge heaters for its high dielectric strength and the simultaneous low dielectric loss.

What is the future of technical ceramics?

Unfortunately the potential of ceramics is still underused at present.

This is for a little in-depth knowledge of the material by the designers and also due to slightly higher costs when compared to other more common materials. This cost incidence would be anyhow justified by a much longer service life but sometimes this aspect is not considered at a planning stage.

Most of the times the approach to ceramics is the consequence of critical issues arisen with another material. Adapting ceramics to an already existing application is not very easy for two reasons:

-       From a technical point of view, such as the presence of sharp edges and strong structural variations in the geometry;

-       From an economical point of view with the need of keeping the same budget, but using a product with much higher production costs.

We trust in the future spread of knowledge about the great features of technical and advanced ceramics in the universities so that the designers of tomorrow will appreciate their enormous potential by making ceramics the material of choice for many applications.