Lifestyle and leisure
Art, decorative and utility objects made of ceramic materials have been an integral companion in people’s everyday lives for thousands of years.
Around 25 000 years old, the “Venus of Dolni Vestonice” is the oldest ceramic work of art known today. Utility objects made of fired ceramics have been around for more than 5000 years. With the development of high-performance ceramic materials in the past years and decades, new and sometimes unusual applications for ceramic products have emerged in everyday life, which are hardly possible to realize with traditional silicate ceramics.
In household and sport applications, primarily only technical properties are required when the ceramics are used as equipment components exposed to high stresses, for example as cooking hobs or mills for grinding cereals. In such applications with an emphasis on technical requirements, the focus is often on the properties listed by way of example in the following:
- Resistance to mechanical pressure and bending stresses
- Edge sharpness
- Edge stability
- Impact strength
- Abrasion resistance
- Thermal conductivity
- Thermal shock resistance
- Neutral taste
- Health safety
For the use of ceramic materials in decorative and art objects, other properties may be required, for example:
- Design and its technical realizability
- Range of variation and consistency of colour
- Geometric precision
- Realizability of high-sheen polished surfaces
- Haptic perception of the surfaces
- Skin tolerability
- Scratch resistance
- Resistance to UV radiation
With regard to the colour shades of such materials available on the market today, ZrO2 ceramics of the type Y-TZP are often at the forefront as these also feature exceptionally high mechanical strength. Another important aspect is the realizability of positive, non-positive and adhesively bonded ceramic-ceramic, ceramic-plastic and ceramic-metal composites, which can generally be realized without any problems based on consideration of the material-specific design possibilities.
The spread of components and products made of high-performance ceramic materials is still comparatively limited in this area and they are reserved predominantly for specific functions in high-end products and equipment. Used there, they exhibit a reliably high utility value, be it as device components or as decorative objects.