MEEN40080 Technical Ceramics

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module presents information about the theory and applications of technical ceramics (also known as advanced or fine ceramics). There are six main parts:
(i) The crystallography and crystal chemistry of ceramic materials
(ii) Analytical methods such as X-ray diffraction, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, optical ceramography, spectroscopy techniques, thermal gravimetric and differential thermal analysis, and mechanical testing for brittle materials
(iii) Fundamentals of ceramic and glass production, including the theory of solid and liquid phase sintering mechanisms
(iv) Relationships between microstructure and mechanical properties, developed through case studies of some high performance structural ceramic materials such as the sialons and zirconias
(v) Important classes and applications of ceramics, including ceramic composites, glass-ceramics, bioceramics, refractories, electroceramics, and 2D materials
(vi) Recent developments in ceramic processing.

Each student will attend two laboratory classes (sintering and analysis) and will be expected to complete a report on each class. Each student also undertakes an individual research assignment during the term on a topic of their choice related to ceramics and sustainability.

All laboratories are carried out with reference to current School Health and Safety protocols. Students should follow these during all laboratory activities. Further information is available at and within the Brightspace resources for this module.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the crystal chemistry of ceramic materials

2. Evaluate the behaviour and properties of ceramic materials using various analytical techniques

3. Describe the relationship between microstructure, crystal structure, and properties

4. Carry out logical selection of ceramic materials for engineering applications.

Indicative Module Content:

composition and structure of ceramics: atomic bonding, crystallography, crystal chemistry, defects, microstructure

characterisation techniques: x-ray diffraction, optical microscopy, electron microscopy, thermal analysis, spectroscopy techniques, mechanical testing of brittle materials

sintering: theory of solid and liquid phase sintering, raw material preparation, pre- and post- sintering steps

glass production: amorphous phase production, example glass compositions, heat treatments

structural ceramics examples: relating structure to bulk properties, zirconias, toughening mechanisms, sialons, multiphase microstructures, effects of grain size and shape

Introduction to important classes and applications of ceramics: functional vs structural ceramics, ceramic composites, glass-ceramics, bioceramics, refractories, electroceramics, and 2D materials

Recent developments in ceramic processing

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:

Short in-class problem solving

Practical labs

Individual research essays 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Essay type research assignment. Students will have approximately 4 weeks to complete the assignment, beginning around mid-trimester. Unspecified n/a Graded No


Examination: Final examination 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Lab Report: Two lab reports Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive feedback on their assignments before sitting the final exam

Barsoum, M. W., Fundamentals of Ceramics (CRC Press, Second ed, 2019)
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Fri 13:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 09:00 - 09:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Wed 09:00 - 09:50
Laboratory Offering 1 Week(s) - 5, 9 Mon 15:00 - 17:50
Laboratory Offering 2 Week(s) - 6, 10 Mon 15:00 - 17:50
Laboratory Offering 3 Week(s) - 6, 10 Wed 15:00 - 17:50
Laboratory Offering 4 Week(s) - 5, 9 Wed 15:00 - 17:50