Applications of Advanced Ceramics a special exhibition at
The International Museum of Ceramic Art at Alfred
William J. Walker, Jr., Ph.D.
Ceramic Engineer and Guest Curator
June 24 - September 25, 1997
|Ceramics have been around for
tens of thousands of years, but in recent years, a new class of ceramic
materials has been developed by scientists and engineers. These new
ceramics are highly engineered to achieve high performance and are
commonly referred to as "advanced ceramics." Chemically, they are
oxides, carbides and nitrides. Most do not occur in nature.
This exhibit looks at how these new materials are
beginning to be used by designers and artists. Advanced ceramics,
and in fact many traditional ceramics, are usually found in behind-the-scenes
applications such as electronic components, cutting tools, etc.
These technical applications are certainly interesting, and can
be beautiful, stimulating and inspirational. But now these materials
are beginning to emerge into the realm of everyday life -- the domain
of product designers; and a few artists are beginning to use them
as the raw materials for their expression.
Public perception of ceramic materials has been
influenced by two headline news phenomena: the ceramic space shuttle
tiles and the high temperature ceramic superconductors. Because
of these two developments and the publicity surrounding them, ceramics
began to be perceived as modern, high tech, high performance materials.
Some designers and manufacturers have already recognized this and
this exhibition is intended to recognize them. It is also intended
to send a hint to those who have not yet noticed what is happening.