The term ceramics , also known as ceramic bodies , is used to describe a large number of inorganic, non-metallic materials that can be roughly divided into the types earthenware , stoneware , stoneware , porcelain and special sizes (see also classification of ceramic bodies ). In general, ceramics is also used as a generic term for the shaped and fired products that are used as everyday objects, decorative objects, components or tools. In addition, the manufacturing technology, the craft (or craft ) and the ceramic production can be meant.
A distinction is made between clay ceramics and glass ceramics . Technical ceramics play an important role today, including composite ceramics . In cultural-historical and archaeological studies, a distinction is made primarily according to their use in everyday life: ceramic vessels (tableware, drinking utensils, cookware, special shapes), building ceramics ( roof tiles , bricks, floor tiles and wall tiles ), stove ceramics ( stove tiles , tiled stove feet, cover plates) and sanitary ceramics (washbasins, Toilet bowls, bathtubs).
The word ceramic comes from ancient Greek : κέραμος keramos was the name for clay minerals and the dimensionally stable products made from them by firing , such as those produced in the ancient Athens district of Kerameikos . The pottery trade was called κεραμικὴ (τέχνη) keramikḗ (téchnē) ; later the name was also transferred to the products.
During the Upper Paleolithic Gravettian culture , the first small sculptures were made from burnt loess clay. The loess clay was layered with bone meal and burned in a fireplace. The most famous example is the approximately 30,000 year old Venus from Dolní Věstonice , plus a number of animal figures from Dolní Věstonice , Pavlov and Krems-Wachtberg .
The oldest clay pots in the world come from the eastern Siberia Amur region and are dated to 15,000 BP by accelerator data on vegetable emaciation . Ceramic vessels are also proven from the Mesolithic Jomon culture of Japan and date to 13,000 BC. Chr.
The knowledge of pottery spread through hunter cultures to Korea and Manchuria , without this being associated with a Neolithic economy. Very old ceramics are also documented in China . Finds from a cave tomb near Xianrendong in Jiangxi Province are even estimated to be up to 20,000 years old. Pottery is around 6000 BC. Also proven on the southern Bug in the Ukraine .
In Sudan , pottery (Wavy line) was made by semi-sedentary hunters and gatherers and invented independently of Asia. First ceramics from the 10th millennium BC BC was made by groups of hunters and gatherers in what is now Mali , West Africa ( Ounjougou site ).
In the Nile Delta , ceramics first appeared in the 9th – 8th Millennium BC Chr. On.
According to today's knowledge, early pottery was produced everywhere in the "open field fire". The first pottery kilns were found in China in the 5th millennium, and in the Middle East in the 4th millennium. In Central Europe there is simultaneous evidence of pottery ovens from Triwalk , Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania , from the funnel beaker culture .
Ceramic vessels owe their spread in the cultures of the Neolithic Age to the improved possibilities for cooking and storage , which were established while settling down, as they were initially unsuitable as a too heavy and fragile transport container. Ceramics play an essential role in identifying and dating archaeological cultures .
Concept and subdivision
Today, the term ceramic is more broadly defined.
On the one hand, the term “ceramic” can be assigned to a material, more precisely to a class of materials that can be differentiated from metals or plastics or others, or to a whole technology that deals with ceramics in the broadest sense. The Nomenclature Committee of the German Ceramic Society defines "ceramics" as a "branch of chemical technology or metallurgy that deals with the manufacture of ceramic materials and further processing up to the ceramic product". Ceramic materials, in turn, are defined as “are inorganic, non-metallic, sparingly soluble in water and at least 30% crystalline. As a rule, they are formed from a raw mass at room temperature and receive their typical material properties through a temperature treatment usually above 800 ° C. Occasionally, the shaping takes place at elevated temperature or even via the melt flow with subsequent crystallization. " However, other definitions also exist. In the Anglo-American linguistic area, the term is used for all solid materials made of inorganic compounds with non-metallic properties, which also includes semiconductors such as silicon or gallium arsenide or precious stones such as sapphire.
From a chemical point of view, it is incorrect to use these definitions for ceramics as “metal-free” or “non-metallic” restorations. In addition to oxygen and silicon, metals are often the main components of ceramics. However, they are not in metallic form, but predominantly as oxides. If these (for example in the case of dental ceramics) are dissolved in the mouth, metal ions are created which, in principle, do not differ from those which are formed from metals through corrosion processes. The term “non-metallic” refers here to the properties of the material such as electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity or ductility, although some of today's special ceramics can in some cases have properties of metals.
Ceramics are therefore largely made of inorganic , fine-grained raw materials with the addition of water at room temperature and then dried (so-called green bodies ), which are then fired in a subsequent firing process above 700 ° C to make harder, more durable objects. A harder body can be obtained through a higher firing temperature, whereby from around 1200 ° C (depending on the clay mass) sintering occurs, which removes the porosity of the body. So you get permanently liquid-tight vessels. Ceramic is now increasingly used for technical purposes ( technical ceramics ) and is produced in similar processes, but mostly at significantly higher sintering temperatures. In the field of fiber-reinforced ceramics , silicon-containing organic polymers ( polycarbosilanes ) are also used as starting materials for the production of amorphous silicon carbide ceramics. They transform from polymer to amorphous ceramic in a pyrolysis process.
A clear system of ceramic materials - such as metal alloys - is difficult because there are fluid transitions with regard to the raw material composition, the firing process and the design process. Ceramic products are therefore often differentiated according to the aspects that are in the foreground, for example regional types of ceramics such as Westerwald stoneware , Bunzlau ceramics or majolica and faience , in technical ceramics according to the chemical composition of silicate ceramics, oxide ceramics and non-oxide ceramics or according to the intended use (functional ceramics, utility ceramics, building ceramics, sanitary ceramics and structural ceramics).
The division into coarse and fine ceramics is also common . The former includes the large group of building ceramics (for example building and roof tiles , sewer pipes ); these products are thick-walled, often inhomogeneous, and often of a random color. Fine ceramics, on the other hand, are fine-grained (grain size less than 0.05 mm), of a defined color (e.g. white for household ceramics , tableware and sanitary ware ); this also includes artistic products. Fine ceramics require considerably more care with regard to the preparation of the raw material, the shaping, drying and firing than is necessary in the manufacture of coarse ceramics. The properties of ceramic products are determined by the type and quantity of crystals they contain and the glazing that acts as a bond (so-called glass phases). Ceramics are dimensionally stable, generally hard (there are exceptions: for example, pyrolytic boron nitride (hexagonal) is flexible due to its layered structure) and heat-resistant.
For the classification of ceramic bodies:
The classification of ceramic bodies can be used in three classes, various subclasses, groups, subgroups, further subdivisions, for example in heavy clay and fine ceramics done as well as other specifications.
Coarse ware is the descriptive term for prehistoric everyday ceramic commodities from the most diverse cultures, which make up more than two thirds of all finds. The vessels were used for the transport and storage of goods, the preparation of meals and as cooking vessels. Coarse pottery stands in qualitative contrast to the special design of ceremonial vessels, both in terms of the way they are manufactured and in their generally undecorated appearance.
Ceramic raw materials
Silicate raw materials
This area generally includes all raw materials that have [SiO 4 ] 4− tetrahedra built into the crystal structure.
Clay minerals and their mixtures
Clays are hydrous aluminosilicates . See also clay mineral . A distinction is made between the primary tone and the secondary tone . Clays and loams result from the weathering of feldspars and related minerals. The main components are illite , montmorillonite and kaolinite . The grain sizes are in the µm range. Depending on the intended use, these raw materials are divided into stoneware clays , earthenware clays , earthenware clays and loams. Marl clays have a high content of lime , which has a strong liquefying effect. Because of such shards lead and tin glazes used to be much used adhere very well, they are often used for stove tiles and tiles used. Bentonites are a weathering product of volcanic origin, they have a very strong plasticizing effect even with small additions, improve the malleability and stability during the drying process. The high water absorption of the bentonite in the molding process results in enormous shrinkage even during drying. Dry shrinkage can lead to cracks and deformations in the green goods.
The selection and mixing of the raw materials must meet the following requirements: good formability of the mass, low shrinkage during drying and firing, high stability during firing, little or no discoloration of the end product.
Kaolin , also called china clay, is a weathering product of feldspar . It consists largely of kaolinite, a hydrated aluminosilicate , accompanied by quartz sand , feldspar and mica . The latter components are removed by sludging and sieving, the end product must be as plastic as possible, dimensionally stable when drying and white after firing. To achieve the desired properties, kaolins of different origins are mixed (mineral dressing); In order to achieve good pouring behavior, plasticizers such as water glass and / or soda are also added.
Kaolin is essential for making porcelain. If there is no kaolin in the clay, only ceramic is created automatically. In the past, some countries could not produce porcelain because there was no kaolin there. Belgium and the Netherlands are among them.
Non-plastic raw materials
In comparison to lime, feldspars are also good fluxing agents, but as the firing temperature rises they cause more vitrification and thus compaction of the products. The drying shrinkage is reduced, but the shrinkage during firing increases. As a leaning agent, quartz lowers drying and burning shrinkage, but worsens plasticity. Quartz is used as fine-grained sand or as ground gangue, it must be as pure as possible to avoid undesirable discoloration. Lime is used as slurried chalk or as ground limestone. As a leaning agent, it supports dimensional stability when drying, and when firing it acts as a flux . However, its sintering and melting points are close to one another, so if the firing temperatures are too high there is a risk of deformation due to outgassing. Fireclay , as ground fired clay or slate, is a leaning agent that increases the porosity at low firing temperatures and reduces drying and firing shrinkage. Magnesium minerals ( talc , magnesite ) give the products high resistance to temperature changes; they are preferred for electrotechnical products.
Oxidic raw materials
Aluminum oxide ceramics are based on α-Al 2 O 3 , corundum . They serve, for example, as grinding and polishing agents and are also used as carrier material for integrated circuits. Refractory products can be made from sintered corundum or fused corundum. Aluminum oxide products can contain a glass phase; a high proportion of glass phase lowers the sintering temperature, but also the strength and temperature resistance.
Zirconium oxide can be added to further increase strength. This particularly tough ceramic is known as ZTA (Zirconia toughened alumina).
From sintered beryllium oxide (BeO) crucibles are made for chemical reactions at very high temperatures. Furthermore, electrically insulating, but highly thermally conductive chip carriers were produced from BeO in order to conduct the resulting thermal energy to a heat sink. Because of its high price and toxicity, BeO has increasingly been replaced by other materials, e.g. B. aluminum oxide or the more expensive aluminum nitride for heat dissipation and graphite for high-temperature laboratory vessels.
Other oxidic raw materials
Non-oxidic raw materials
The non-oxide raw materials listed below are used to manufacture non-oxide ceramics , which have become established in many technical applications (see technical ceramics ). In practice, all of these raw materials are produced artificially.
Due to its special capabilities, silicon carbide (SiC) is currently one of the most important industrial ceramics for high-performance applications. It is used as an abrasive, in plain bearings of chemical pumps, as a diesel soot particle filter and for high-temperature applications as a temperature-stable molded component (e.g. receiver in solar tower power plants ) because it is very hard and thermally and chemically resistant. Another use is rings in mechanical seals . The clutch disc and the brake discs of the Porsche Carrera GT are made of carbon fiber reinforced silicon carbide (C / SiC).
The most important production (Acheson process) takes place from quartz sand and coke at 2200 ° C according to:
It is comparable to the reduction of quartz to raw silicon ; however, an excess of carbon is used. Manufacture from molten silicon and carbon is suitable for better shaping. Here charcoal has proven itself, which has been brought to the right shape beforehand. Silicon can be absorbed through the pores and then react to form SiC. This creates a special form of silicon carbide, so-called SiSiC (silicon-infiltrated SiC), which still contains a few percent unreacted silicon, which has a negative impact on corrosion resistance.
SiC is rarely found in nature. It is then referred to as moissanite .
Since boron nitride (BN) has a similar structure to graphite under normal conditions and is also very temperature-resistant (it only reacts with air at 750 ° C), it is suitable as a high-temperature lubricant. The diamond-like modification borazon is the hardest material after diamond .
The hexagonal crystal structure can be derived by alternately replacing the carbon in graphite with boron and nitrogen. In other words, it consists of planes of borazine rings condensed on all sides . Boron nitride is not electrically conductive like graphite because the electrons are more strongly localized on the nitrogen atoms.
At 60–90 kbar and 1500–2200 ° C, BN transforms into cubic borazone, which crystallizes in the zinc blende structure analogous to diamond . Borazon is as hard as diamond, but more resistant to oxidation and is therefore used as an abrasive.
Boron carbide (B 4 C) is another very hard material (in third place after diamond and boron nitride). It is used as an abrasive and for armor plates and sandblasting nozzles. The production takes place at 2400 ° C from B 2 O 3 and carbon.
Other non-oxidic raw materials
Manipulated ceramic raw materials
Originally called "metallic-ceramic raw materials" here. As a rule, ceramics have nothing to do with metallic materials. Since metals can be used in similar shaping processes as ceramic raw materials, this category was probably misleadingly named so. It is about dry pressing , slip casting or plastic shaping using binders . This part of the production of metallic materials is called powder metallurgy. The finest grains are used.
- Dry pressing
- The ceramic powder is pressed dry in a steel matrix by pressure from a lower and an upper punch with pressures of over 1 t / cm² . Cold isostatic pressing is also possible. The ceramic powder is filled into a rubber mold and pressed evenly from all sides by means of liquid pressure (usually oil). After shaping, the workpiece is fired or sintered. With the shaping process of cold isostatic pressing, uniform properties are possible throughout the workpiece compared to dry pressing.
- Slip pouring
- The ceramic powder is brought into suspension with water and a suitable liquefier (electrolyte) at low viscosity. It is possible to reduce the viscosity of the suspension by using peptization aids so that as much solid / volume as possible can be introduced into the suspension / slip. By pouring the slip into plaster of paris molds, the plaster of paris mold absorbing the water from the slip, a plastic skin is formed on the edge of the mold. When the superfluous slip is poured off, the actual product remains in the mold. After the subsequent drying and sintering, the end product is manufactured.
- Plastic shaping
- By adding so-called plasticizers to the ceramic powder, the material is malleable. These plasticizers are often of organic origin. They cure through polycondensation or through polymerization, so that they cure through the complete reaction of the plasticizer and obtain sufficient strength. The shaping itself is done either by extrusion or by pressing in molds. The organic additives burn later in the fire. This combination of materials is now also used in a more fluid form in rapid prototyping (3D printing).
Other additives are fluxes in the glass industry. Plasticizers or flocculants improve formability and burn during the firing process. Organic plasticizers are, for example, glue, waxes, gelatine , dextrin , gum arabic , and paraffin oil . Also used are liquefiers or peptizers, which are used to prevent flocculation of the raw material.
Other aids are finely ground burnout agents such as sawdust and cork flour , starch, coal dust and styrofoam balls. They make the shards porous and light and can create interesting surface effects; they also burn in the fire. So-called porosity agents are mainly used in the brick industry, where they reduce the density and the thermal conductivity of the bricks.
Processing of raw materials
In industrial ceramic production, the components, after they have been partially pre- fired, are finely ground together in drum mills according to the recipe . After sludging with the addition of water, this is largely removed again in filter presses. The remaining filter cake is dried and ground again. In this form, the raw mass is either stored or immediately kneaded in machines with the addition of water and liquefying auxiliaries and, if necessary, deaerated. In addition, semi-wet and dry processing has recently gained importance in industrial production. In the pottery workshop, this process is sometimes still carried out by hand. Since grinders are often not available, sludging is of great importance. The homogenization of the mass was achieved through laborious kneading. Today, machines are mostly available for this. The aim is to create a working mass that is as homogeneous, pliable and bubble-free as possible.
The shaping of the green bodies or blanks for the production of fine ceramic products can be done according to historical-traditional processes or modern methods. These procedures include:
- Slip casting by introducing the liquid ceramic mass (also slip ) into hollow plaster molds or freeze casting
- Injection molding and temperature inverse injection molding
- Foil casting
- Construction work from individual strands (e.g. for hollow vessels)
- Plate technology
- Turning rotationally symmetrical hollow vessels on the potter's wheel
- Turning or turning over rotationally symmetrical bodies in hollow forms with the help of templates on the turntable machine
The extrusion process and the compression molding process, especially for the manufacture of tubes and rods, can also be used in shaping for the production of coarse ceramic products . In industrial large-scale production, semi-dry and dry shaping have become important, since in this case significantly shorter drying times for the green bodies while at the same time achieving better dimensional accuracy. However, since impurities, for example soluble salts, cannot be separated off, these processes are initially unsuitable for the production of porcelain and other fine ceramic products.
Besides the production of ceramic parts by additive manufacturing process is through the future also finalize shaping hermetically - material-fit joining means ceramic laser welding with ultra-short pulse lasers become conceivable.
Coatings and Infiltration
The following special processes are also used in technical ceramics:
- Chemical vapor deposition (engl. Chemical vapor deposition , CVD): In this process, several gases react on the ceramic material under a certain pressure and high temperatures and precipitate on surfaces. For example, boron nitride layers can be produced using a gas mixture of boron trichloride and ammonia , silicon carbide layers using a mixture of methyltrichlorosilane and hydrogen , and carbon layers using a mixture of methane and argon or propane and argon. If the layer is separated from the forming substrate (for example graphite ), you have the finished ceramic component.
- Chemical vapor infiltration (engl. Chemical vapor infiltration , CVI): Here, the shape defined by an infiltrating to part, for example by a fixed fabric structure of carbon fibers or other open-pored, sponge-like structure. Gas mixtures and separation products correspond to those of the CVD process (see also ceramic fiber composite material ).
- Physical vapor deposition (engl. Physical vapor deposition , PVD): Unlike the CVD using physical methods is the starting material in the gas phase transferred. The gaseous material is then fed to the substrate to be coated , where it condenses and forms the target layer. Use especially for thin layers.
After shaping, the blank is moist through
- mechanically trapped water in the cavities,
- physicochemically bound water ( adhesion , capillary water ) and
- chemically bound water ( crystal water ).
In addition to the surrounding “climate”, the drying speed depends heavily on the recipe of the raw mass. In order to keep the drying speed low to avoid cracks, the blanks can be covered. Industrial drying takes place in air-conditioned rooms. The physicochemically bound and, in particular, the chemically bound water are only expelled by the fire.
A distinction is made between three stages of drying:
- Hard as leather: The body can no longer be deformed, but it still has enough moisture to decorate it.
- Air dry: The broken glass no longer releases any moisture at room temperature and feels cool to the touch.
- Ready to burn: the broken glass no longer feels cool, but proves to be conditionally absorbent (try: tongue sticks to broken glass).
The burning process
The firing process (raw or biscuit firing) converts the dried shaped body into a hard, water-resistant product. In technical ceramics , this process is also known as sintering . At low temperatures (<1000 ° C) volatile components are driven out (water, carbon dioxide, organic auxiliaries). The clayey components decompose and form new minerals. In the resulting “body”, crystals join together at the grain boundaries (crystal growth) and (if contained) are cemented by glassy parts. The proportion and type (grain size distribution, textures, etc.) of the crystal and glass phase as well as the pores determine the properties of the fired product.
The temperatures used range up to about 1400 ° C; they are also considerably higher for special ceramics. Depending on the raw materials and the desired product, the firing temperature is often varied during the firing process (temperature profile). In addition, in many cases the process has to take place temporarily in a reducing atmosphere in order to avoid yellowing of white dishes or sanitary ware due to iron contamination. At firing temperatures of 1400 ° C and more, support frames made of particularly heat-resistant materials such as silicon carbide are used.
In mass production, a distinction is made between periodic and continuous ovens . Chamber and ring ovens as well as tunnel ovens (production of bricks , products made of refractory materials and porcelain ) and roller ovens (for flat products such as tiles) are used. Mostly, stoves with fossil fuels are used. Electric ovens are often used in craft shops. In the case of kilns for small quantities, a distinction must be made between open systems in which the combustion gases (with different flame guidance) come into direct contact with the goods, and muffle furnaces in which the combustion gases indirectly heat the goods .
There are two methodological approaches for the subsequent determination of firing temperatures, as is common with ancient ceramics. Either the assumed starting material is continuously heated experimentally until approximately the same properties are achieved, or temperature-indicating minerals (such as gehlenite ), which have a limited temperature stability field, are carefully examined and the firing temperature is estimated in this way.
The continuous furnaces used for firing mass-produced ceramics are very energy-intensive. It is a procedural challenge to manufacture the quality and quantity of the fired products with the lowest possible energy consumption.
Glazes are thin layers of glass. On the one hand, they make the porous ceramic body almost waterproof and give it an easy-to-clean surface. On the other hand, they enable a varied, decorative design of the ceramics. Glazes can be colored, transparent or opaque, glossy, semi-matt or matt. They can be soft and low-melting (from around 800 ° C for raku ceramics to around 1000 ° C) or hard and high-melting (from 1000 ° C to around 1400 ° C for porcelain). According to their chemical composition you can, for. B. differentiate between borosilicate, feldspar, salt, gold and lead-containing glazes. In any case, however, the main glass-forming component is SiO 2, as in bottle or window glass. In ceramic production, the glazes are often only applied after the product has been biscuit fired (dipping, spraying, brushing, stamping) and then glazed in a new firing process (smooth firing). This firing is also called glaze firing and requires higher temperatures than the biscuit firing. Here, sinter the ceramic body and is tight.
With overglaze painting you usually need an additional firing for each color. This is below the sintering temperature. Even when using screen printing technology, another fire cannot be avoided: Here the temperatures must even be below the Schrüh temperature.
With traditional salt glaze, rock salt is added to the fire during fire, and its gases paint over the material to be fired. The precipitating sodium oxide lowers the melting temperature on the surface and creates a glaze on the body.
The German Ceramic Society e. V. (DKG) sees itself as a technical-scientific association for all ceramics. It is the discussion platform for this industrial area on all technical and scientific issues (education, training, research, teaching and environmental protection) as well as the central contact point between science and the ceramic industry.
The artistic side of modern ceramics as part of modern art is not represented by a single institution, but is conveyed in a variety of ceramic art institutions such as museums, symposia, galleries, etc.
- Hetjens - German Ceramic Museum , Düsseldorf
- Keramion Foundation , Frechen
- Museum Schloss Fürstenberg , Fürstenberg
- Ceramic Museum Westerwald , Höhr-Grenzhausen
- Langerwehe Pottery Museum , Langerwehe
- Museum Schloss Glücksburg - Collection of contemporary international ceramic art (since 1975), Römhild
- Scheibbs Ceramic Museum , Scheibbs
- Porzellanikon - museum complex in Selb and Hohenberg an der Eger
Other museums: see web links
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- Federal Association of Ceramic Raw Materials and Industrial Minerals , Neuwied
- Information center of the Technical Ceramics Section, Association of the Ceramic Industry, Selb
- Federal Association of Ceramic Industry , Selb
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