‘Without ceramics almost nothing would function’ – barriers to 3D printing

Although ceramics are perhaps best known as materials for pottery, they are useful for many high-tech applications (Credit: Shutterstock)

Aspirational visits to disappointing evening classes, damp garden centres – the word ceramic does not, perhaps, immediately conjure up high-tech thoughts.

Ceramics are nonetheless used in a huge range of advanced applications. Generally defined as non-metallic and inorganic materials, they stop spacecraft from disintegrating and burning across the sky as they re-enter the atmosphere, replace ageing and damaged bones and one variant protects soldiers in bulletproof vests.

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