Adeel Aleem, Haq Nawaz, M. Shoaib An average person usually perceives the word ceramics as pottery or on the other extreme even space shuttle tiles. Besides the everyday objects of dinnerware, glassware, floor and wall tile and other consumer products, ceramic materials have proven increasingly important in the industry and in the field of electronics, communications, energy conservation, aerospace and recreation. The continuing evolution of the ceramics and materials world and the associated materials technologies is accelerating rapidly with each new technological development supplying more data to the knowledge bank. The push has been along miniaturization and packing the maximum amount of performance into the smallest space. The 20th century has produced the greatest advancement in ceramics and materials technology since humans have been capable of conceptive thought. The extensive metallurgical developments in this period have now produced almost every conceivable combination of metal alloys and the capabilities of those alloys are fairly well known and exploited. The push for ever faster, more efficient, less costly production techniques continues today. As the limits of the metal based systems are surpassed, new materials capable of operating under higher temperatures, higher speeds, longer life factors, and lower maintenance costs are required to maintain pace with technological advancements. Ceramics in contrast to metals are brittle by nature have complex chemistry and require advanced processing technology and equipment. Ceramics polymer composites enable large shapes to be made; the space shuttle is a typical example of the application and capability of the advanced materials. The wide variety of applications for ceramic materials results from their unique properties. In many respects, these properties cannot be achieved by other materials. Among the many properties that ceramics products take advantage of include: High hardness High compressive strength High temperature stability-refractoriness Good erosion and corrosion resistance Low (porous) or high thermal conductivity Good electrical insulation Good electrical breakdown strength even at high temperature Good dielectric and ferroelectric properties Depending on the composition and the processing of the raw materials, as well as the fabrication and firing conditions, the properties of the material can often be closely tailored to the desired application. CLASSIFICATION OF TECHNICAL CERAMICS Structural Ceramics and cermets Electro Ceramics 1. STRUCTURAL CERAMICS These materials are best electrical insulators, oxidation resistant, chemically inert, heat insulators, porous, therefore used in high vacuum environments, fraction and wear, refractorys, Ceramic-Matrix composites and high temperature applications. In Oxide based ceramics, high alumina, aluminous porcelain, semi-conducting titanium oxide and zirconium oxide are used in a broad range of applications. For non-Oxide ceramics category, application oriented materials involve Silicon Carbide, Silicon Nitride, Boron Carbide and Aluminum Nitride. 2. ELECTRO CERAMICS Electro Ceramics have been extensively studied and are used for industrial applications. A piezoelectric material develops surface dielectric charge when subjected to mechanical stress and vice versa. This phenomenon has been exploited in hundreds of applications. These include vibrators, acoustic sensors, underwater hydrophones, surface acoustic wave (SAW) filters, actuators, ultrasonic motors, piezoelectric transformers, medical ultrasounds etc. A large number of piezo-electric materials are available in international market. Two famous examples are Barium Titanate (BaTiO3) and Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT). Now days Piezo Ceramic-Polymer composites have got attraction of researchers for their excellent piezo-properties and performance characteristics. PRODUCTION PROCEDURE Advanced engineering ceramic production is a much more demanding and complex procedure. High purity materials and precise methods of production must be employed to ensure the desired properties of these advanced materials in the final product. Manufacturing processes involve preparation of high purity precursors and mixing of precursors via solid or wet chemical methods. Minor impurities at this stage can have dynamic effects on properties. Application dependent heat treatment procedures are utilized to create carefully controlled crystal structures. These materials are then crushed to fine powder and blended with binder to suit method of forming. Raw material is formed into the required green shape and fired to high temperatures in air or any other desired environment to produce dense product. RECENT ADVANCES IN CERAMIC TECHNOLOGY It is only during last 30 years or so, with the advances of understanding in ceramics chemistry, crystallography and the more extensive knowledge gained in regard to the production of engineered ceramics that the potential for these materials has been realized. Techniques previously applied to metals are now considered applicable to ceramic systems. Phase transformations, alloying, quenching and tempering techniques are applied to a range of ceramic systems. Significant improvements to the fracture toughness, ductility and impact resistance of ceramics are realized and thus the gap in physical properties between ceramics and metals began to close. STATUS OF ADVANCED CERAMICS IN PAKISTAN In Pakistan, no established institution is catering for technical ceramics on industrial scale. Now a day almost every high performance machine (e.g. used in textile, chemical and mechanical industry etc) is incorporated with ceramic components and no ample supporting setup is present to provide spares and new articles. This leads to shut down of precious equipments resulting wastage of revenue and time. Few trained people available in this area with limited resources can hardly meet the demands of their own organizations through reverse engineering. Lack of academic institutions and latest facility for the production of advanced ceramics may be a set back to economy and industry. Establishment of the commercial scale facility is the need of hour, because a huge amount of foreign exchange is involved in import of necessary advanced ceramics. OBJECTIVES OF WORKSHOP ON ADVANCED CERAMICS In ISAM-2011, we have arranged a workshop on Advanced Ceramics. It is intended to develop awareness about the importance of advanced ceramics for local industry and R&D organizations. The workshop would provide an opportunity to the engineers, scientists, student and policy maker to review the recent developments in the field of ceramics. Foreign and local expert will provide their valuable suggestions and participants will benefit from their technical experience. Lectures are arranged on processing, characterization and production of ceramics which include engineering ceramics, castable refractories, plasma coatings, piezo and magnetic ceramics. This workshop will also serve as a platform for different organizations to display their ceramic products, which would develop links between university, industry and R&D organizations. Stresses will be made for the establishment of academic institutions and a society on advanced ceramics. This society will serve as a permanent platform to hold future events on regular basis and will provide consultancy for local projects. The writers are from Institute of Industrial and Control System, Rawalpindi.