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Ceramics are non-metallic solids containing atoms linked by covalent and ionic bonds. These atoms may be non-metal, metal or metalloid in nature. They range from glasses, which are wholly amorphous to highly oriented, crystalline structures. Ceramic materials used in pottery include earthenware, porcelain, bone china and stoneware. Typically fired below 1200ºC, more

Ceramics are non-metallic solids containing atoms linked by covalent and ionic bonds. These atoms may be non-metal, metal or metalloid in nature. They range from glasses, which are wholly amorphous to highly oriented, crystalline structures. Ceramic materials used in pottery include earthenware, porcelain, bone china and stoneware. Typically fired below 1200ºC, Earthenware is a rough material made from a mixture of china clay (kaolin), ball clay, quartz and feldspar, which is used, glazed or unglazed, in pottery, terracotta tiles and bricks. Porcelain, typically made from china clay (or potentially other materials) fired at 1,200 to 1,400 ºC, is a translucent, hard and impermeable material used in high quality plates and vases. Bone china is a variant of porcelain that contains china clay, bone ash and feldspar-based materials, and which is particularly strong and resistant to chipping. Stoneware, typically made from stoneware clay or non-refractory clay, is more opaque than porcelain an is typically only partially vitrified (meaning it contains fewer glassy bonds than normal porcelain). Modern 'advanced ceramics' typically contain silicon carbide and tungsten carbide, which offer additional abrasion resistance, with such materials being used in applications ranging from wear plates in crushing machines to body armour, electrical and electronic components and medical implants. Ceramics are highly resistant to heat and are often used as a component in rocket nose cones, helping them withstand the extreme temperatures experienced when re-entering the Earth's atmosphere.

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