Failure of engineering ceramic products and structures - A case study compendium

Gagg, Colin R. (2010). Failure of engineering ceramic products and structures - A case study compendium. In: Fourth International Conference on Engineering Failure Analysis (ICEFA-IV), 4-7 Jul 2010, Churchill College, Cambridge, UK.



Engineering ceramics are a broad range of advanced ceramic materials developed for their hardness, physical stability, extreme heat resistance, chemical inertness, biocompatibility and superior electrical properties. Often termed ‘technical ceramics’ they are highly resistant to melting, bending, stretching, corrosion and wear. Precision-engineered ceramic components are used in a wide range of specialist applications from aerospace and semiconductor, electronics, medical, automotive, thermal processing, industrial equipment, defence and security, power generation and distribution and domestic products. Importantly, these ceramic materials lend themselves to mass production, thereby providing a cost-effective engineering solution to fit a wide range of design challenges. However, high melting points and lack of ductility associated with ceramics severely curtails the ways in which they can be processed. The majority of engineering ceramic components are fabricated by a powder processing route, with material porosity being a consequence of this approach. Therefore the physical and mechanical properties of most ceramic products are controlled by their degree of porosity, rather than by their atomic or crystal structure. To provide a background for subsequent failure case studies, an overview of a range and typical application of engineering ceramics will be presented.

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