Ceramic Industry

INSIDE CI: Formative Times

June 1, 2011

My nearly 16-year-old daughter recently started driving. Getting a feel for the brake and managing turns were her first major hurdles, and now the parking process is causing a bit of frustration. She's doing an amazing job overall, but riding in the car with her at the wheel can still be a nerve-jangling experience.

Luckily (for me and my fingernails, at least), driving a car is not a process that typically relies on ultra-precision. As long as my daughter remains alert and within the lines on the road, moving a pinch to the left or right is probably not going to cause catastrophic failure.

That's not always the case in manufacturing, especially in high-tech industries. Suppliers have focused on technology advances that enable tolerances in the forming and finishing processes that are used in ceramic manufacturing to often be tailored to specific requirements. For example, cold isostatic pressing can be used to form uniformly dense, near-net-shape zirconia-based dental crowns and bridges. Learn more about "Uniform Powder Compaction" here.

Both low- and high-pressure ceramic injection molding provide many benefits, but challenges often stand in the way of their adoption. A process has been developed to combine these methods in order to capitalize on the benefits and eliminate many of the challenges, thus removing many of the obstacles involved in the use of ceramic materials for some applications. "A Gateway into Ceramics" has the details.

We also showcase thermal analysis in this issue with an article detailing the information and opportunities that will be presented at the upcoming HI TEMP Conference (see "Reaching New Heights"). In addition, be sure to take a look at the section on firing/drying, which begins on p. 24. The full Table of Contents for this issue can be found on p. 6.