Ceramics are inorganic, non-metallic materials made of either metal or non-metal compounds which have been shaped and fired in high temperatures kilns. Depending on their method of formation, they can be either dense or lightweight, but typically demonstrate excellent strength, corrosion-resistance and hardness. However, ceramics are often brittle in nature.
Advanced ceramics are not generally clay-based, as traditional ceramics are. Instead, they are either based on oxides or non-oxides or combinations of the two. They can be formed to serve as electrically conductive materials, or insulators – materials which prevent the flow of electricity – and even display magnetic properties. Ceramics are used in sectors as diverse as product design, electronics, automobile design, aerospace, medicine and industrial manufacturing.