Classification of ceramic bodies

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By classifying ceramic bodies, the various ceramics are assigned to classes 1 to 3, different subclasses, groups and subgroups and, if necessary, further specified.

Division into classes

Specification according to the classification of ceramic bodies
class Subclass
Ceramics Earthenware Building ceramics
Refractory ceramics
Other earthenware
Earthenware Limestone or soft stone
Feldspar or hard stone ware
Mixed stone ware
Sintered goods Stoneware Coarse stoneware does not burn white
Light or white-burning porcelain stoneware
porcelain Hard-paste porcelain
Soft-paste porcelain
Ceramic special sizes High temperature special dimensions

Class 1: Ceramic earthenware

In addition to refractory and building ceramics, earthenware also includes earthenware and so-called pottery . Components: clay or kaolin and possibly quartz and / or feldspar , lime , porous, non-translucent, crystallized cullet.

Building ceramics

Non-refractory bricks, shaped bricks (1200 to 1350 ° C), clinker , drainage pipes (1000 to 1150 ° C), roof tiles

Refractory ceramics

Fireclay bricks for stoves, ovens (1300 ° C). Sillimanite , magnesite , etc. a. for lining industrial furnaces in the iron and cement industry (1500 ° C)

Other earthenware

  • Earthenware: pure white to ivory-colored, porous body with a transparent glaze; Raw fire 1150 to 1250 ° C; Glaze firing above 960 ° C, but below the raw firing temperature; mostly translucent or colorless
    • Limestone or soft stone: clay, kaolin, quartz, lime; Firing temperature 1120 to 1150 ° C; particularly suitable for underglaze painting.
    • Feldspar or hard stone: clay, kaolin, quartz, feldspar. Firing temperature 1220 to 1250 ° C; frost-proof wall panels, sanitary ware, dishes
    • Mixed stoneware: clay, kaolin, quartz, lime, feldspar; Wall plates, dishes
  • Pottery: predominantly flux-rich clays, up to 40 percent lime and other admixtures; white, ocher to red-brown porous body with matt, fine-grain breakage; Firing temperature 1000 to 1200 ° C; Pottery molded by hand (potter's wheel, casting process) or by means of a press. Tableware, utensils for home and garden, decorative ceramics, raku ceramics , tin-glazed pottery
    • unglazed earthenware: yellow to red fired weatherproof ceramic
      • Terracotta (addition of chamotte or brick flour); Figures, articles of daily use and ornaments, flower pots
    • Glazed pottery: Occasionally, ceramic products in this subgroup are also referred to as "semi-porcelain".
      • Majolica : Originally colored, porous body with an opaque colored glaze
      • Faience : Originally white, yellow-gray or light-red-brown, porous body, white covering glaze
      • Frit porcelain (also frit ware or fried ware): The starting product is the frit (made of quartz sand , saltpeter , table salt , soda , alum and calcium sulfate in the form of alabaster or plaster of paris), which is mixed with marl containing chalk or gypsum and burned.

Class 2: Ceramic sintered products

In addition to stoneware , porcelain is also part of sintered products . Ceracron is also said to belong to the porcelain subclass, but cannot be classified due to the secrecy of the recipe. Components: clay or kaolin and possibly quartz and / or feldspar, lime; non-crystallized dense masses, not translucent or only translucent at the edges, high strength


Characteristics: Dense broken glass, not translucent, also colored, but mostly light

  • Coarse stoneware (not white firing): firing temperature 1100 to 1400 ° C; often clay or partial glaze; Clinker bricks, tiles , troughs, sewer pipes, vessels for the chemical industry, Coade stone
  • Porcelain stoneware (white or light-burning, similar to porcelain): clay, quartz, feldspar; Firing temperature 1250 to 1300 ° C (joint raw and glaze firing); Manufacture of dishes, sanitary ware, chemical devices, mosaics, tiles & ornamental vessels. Transitional form to china: celadon , vitreous china


Ingredients: kaolin , quartz sand , feldspar , trace elements and possibly additives

  • Soft-paste porcelain : 30% (25-40) / 45% / 30%, at a lower temperature for the glaze firing: temperature up to a maximum of 1350 ° C, preferably for decorative sculptures
    • Bone china (with up to 50% burned bone ash) or fine bone china as a further development. A special feature of bone china is the firing sequence. For example, the temperature of the first firing without glaze (biscuit firing) is 1280 ° C higher than that of the smooth firing following the application of the glaze at 1080 ° C.
    • Biscuit porcelain : surface unglazed, silky matt gloss

Class 3: Special ceramic bodies

Class 3 includes a .: Paperclay , dental ceramics or dental ceramics , highly sintered oxide ceramics as cutting material for cutting and grinding tools ( aluminum , zirconium , magnesium , beryllium, thorium oxide ; free of silicon dioxide ). In a broader sense, this also includes ferrites and titanates .

High-temperature special dimensions (also mixed ceramics)

Highly refractory oxide ceramic with small additions of various metals. The toughness of the metals is combined with the corrosion resistance and fire resistance of the ceramic. Use as turbine blades or as cutting tools.

Electrotechnical special dimensions

Electro- porcelain for insulators , titanium oxide ceramics for capacitors , piezoceramics for electroacoustic converters, materials for magnets , semiconductor resistors .

Heavy ceramics, fine ceramics, technical ceramics

Another classification is that of coarse pottery and fine pottery. In addition to coarse stoneware, heavy ceramics also include refractory ceramics and building ceramics. All other masses are fine ceramics. This is characterized by selected raw materials, particularly careful preparation of the recipes and more complex shaping (partly by hand).

The ceramics included in the special dimensions are also referred to as technical ceramics .


  • Small encyclopedia technology. Bibliographical Institute, Leipzig 1972.
  • Materials and material testing - basics. In: Lueger Lexicon of Technology. (four volumes), Rowohlt Taschenbuch-Verlag, Reinbek 2003, ISBN 3-499-19008-7 .
  • P. Rada: The technique of ceramics. Dausien 1989, ISBN 3-7684-1868-5 .
  • Sven Frotscher: dtv-Atlas ceramics and porcelain. Munich 2003, ISBN 3-423-03258-8 .
  • Association of the Ceramic Industry eV (Hrsg.): Brevier Technical Ceramics. 4th edition. Fahner Verlag, Lauf ad Pegnitz 2003, ISBN 3-924158-77-0 .

Web links


  1. a b . A reliable differentiation between majolica and faience is hardly possible because these terms are used alternately in the literature.