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Lecture 00A

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The Scope of this Course

This course includes not only discussions of ceramics which are understood to be crystalline materials, but also glasses which are amorphous network structures made mostly silicon dioxide molecules.

Earliest applications of ceramics and glasses resided in objects of art used to express spiritual and artistic imaginations. They are corrosion resistance and durable, which led to their household applications in the ancient times and still does. Common ceramic objects are made today just as they were the ancient times, that is by the sintering process.

What sets ceramics apart from metals and polymers is their durabiliy, chemical inertness, and functional properties such as ionic conductivity which is critical in fuel cell an battery applications.

While most ceramics are oxides made from elements from the left hand side of the periodic table and oxygen from the right hand side, recent developments point towards carbon containing ceramics, such as silicon carbide, for ultrahigh temperature structure applications, as for example in next generation gas turbines.


The final grade is sectioned into five equal parts. The first four are given from Take Home HW Exam in the four topics mentioned above: fracture, sintering, electrochemistry, oxidation and reduction. The remaining 20% of the grade is reserved for the final paper and presentation.

Please be reminded that those who do well in the course generally do well in all five areas mentioned above. So please do not try to relate the effort you put into each area into the grade.

I will post practice HW questions from time to time. There is not HW requirement for the course. Only the TakeHomeHWExam (four in all) will be graded.

The Teaching Method

All classes will be online. I am still experimenting to see how the course delivery develops. Your feedback can be useful to me, so feel free to comment.

In each lecture I will write down most of what I am speaking into a Word document, which will be live on the screen. I may draw graphics and pull in pictures from my other files. Then I will post a pdf version of this Word file online. Practice problems will be addred to this file as well, over the next day or two.