crack sensitivity
thermal shock

Introduction 1

By the end of this tutorial, you should have an understanding of:

  • mechanical properties of ceramics and glass
  • effects of cracks on behaviour of ceramics
  • thermal shock phenomena
  • how to use ceramics in design

All of us have dropped drinking glasses and mugs before and seen them break into many pieces on the floor. This begs the question: how can such brittle materials be used in engineering?

Ceramics have been used in structures for centuries. They are used in many ancient structures that have survived - the great pyramid of Giza, the great Wall of China. These structures show that ceramics are very resistant to corrosion and wear, and can be used in some applications, even though they may be brittle.

Clay ceramics and stone have traditionally been used as structural materials. Now cement is commonly used - it is a complex ceramic composite.

Ceramics have also been developed to be used in electronic, computer, communication, biomedical and aerospace applications.

Ceramics and glasses have a wide range of mechanical and physical properties, but most are hard and brittle. Ceramics contain flaws inherent due to processing and
preparation, which cause brittle failure.

Flaws are variable in size and number,
leading to variable mechanical behaviour.

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