212 Summary

Broad progress has been achieved during the past 30-40 years to improve the properties and reliability of ceramic materials for structural applications. Strength, Weibull modulus, hardness, fracture toughness, and resistance to thermal shock, high-temperature creep, and environmental attack all have been improved dramatically. Aluminum oxide has continued to be a workhorse for corrosion and wear resistance applications. Silicon carbide, silicon nitride, and transformation-toughened zirconia have all emerged as viable structural materials and are rapidly growing in importance.

Improved understanding of the relationships of properties, microstructure, and processing have contributed to the improvement of monolithic ceramics and also encouraged the development of ceramic matrix composites. Carefully engineered microstructures are now available to optimize individual ceramic materials for specific needs such as high hardness, creep resistance, and high toughness. Ceramic-based materials are now more than ever important for an engineer to consider as alternatives when seeking the optimum material for a specific application.

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