Ceramics are covalent compounds containing metal and non-metal atoms primarily held in covalent and ionic bonds. Generally, ceramics are made by taking mixtures of earth elements, powders, water and clay. This mixture is shaped into the desired form and is then fired in a high temperature oven. Ceramics are then painted with glazes which are waterproof and decorative. At elevated temperature, ceramics have high hardness, high melting points, excellent chemical corrosion resistance and good mechanical properties. Some ceramics are good dielectrics or insulators, whereas others are good electrical or thermal conductors. Ceramics are widely used in our daily life. Glass, plates, bricks, tiles and sanitary ware are some examples of the ceramics we see every day. Ceramics can also be found in products like automobiles (sparkplug), phone lines and watches. They are even used in space shuttles and aircrafts. Ceramics can be broadly classified into two categories: traditional and advanced. Traditional ceramics include clay products such as cement and glass, whereas advanced ceramics consist of pure oxides, nitrides, carbides and many others.
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Advanced ceramics are widely used in industrial applications where the operating temperature is generally high or which require hard substances that can withstand great pressure. Ceramics offer various advantages compared to other materials. Ceramics are more corrosion and heat resistant than polymers or metals, stiffer and harder than steel, and have a lower density than most alloys and metals. Raw material for advance ceramics materials are plentiful, inexpensive and display wide range of properties. For automotive applications, they are used in various applications like airbag sensors, spark plugs, valves, vibration sensors, pressure sensors, oxygen sensors, thermistors, catalytic converters, ceramic rotors, ceramic filters piston rings and safety glass windshields.
The different types of high temperature ceramics include ceramic matrix composites and ultrahigh temperature ceramic coatings. Advanced high temperature materials are key components in the emerging material technologies, which are giving impetus to many industries. The global high temperature ceramics market is driven by several factors like replacement of materials for the sake of creating cost effective solutions, the growing demand for energy conservation across various industries, and government regulations to reduce greenhouse emissions.
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The global high temperature ceramics market is led by AsiaPacific (APAC) which accounts for over 40-45% of the total consumption by volume. The cost of high temperature ceramics in APAC is lesser than that in Europe, North America or Latin America. In terms of revenue, North America is the largest market followed by APAC and Europe. The cost of high temperature ceramics is expected to remain low for the next few years in the APAC region. Due to government regulations and incentives offered for sustainability and energy conservation, North America and Europe are expected to offer significant growth opportunities for the high temperature ceramics market.
On the basis of industry applications, the global high temperature ceramics market is segmented into automotive, aerospace, chemical processing, metallurgical, power generation and others. Some of the most common applications of high temperature ceramics are afterburners, boilers, castings, exhaust stacks, flanges, furnaces, headers, incinerators, manifolds, molds and dies, ovens, heat exchangers, pumps, blowers, pipingand ducting. In the aerospace industry, high temperature ceramics are used in cutting edge applications, which require structural and chemical stability at extremely high operating temperatures. On the basis of composition, the high temperature ceramics are segmented into oxides (alumina, zirconia), non-oxides (carbides, nitrides) and composites (combination of oxides and non-oxides).
There are many global and regional players operating in the high temperature ceramics market especially in APAC. Some of the key participants are Morgan Thermal Ceramics, ZIRCAR Ceramics, Inc., Skamol A/S, Promat International, IBIDEN Company Ltd., Rath Incorporated, General Insulation Europe Ltd., Unifrax Corporation, and Shandong Luyang Share Co. Ltd.
In future, the understanding and controlling behavior of the microstructures and properties of high temperature ceramics are expected to be key elements in research activities. This research will further increase the operating temperature limits of existing high temperature ceramics.