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October 22nd, 2008

Video of the week: Cracking up over mugs

Published on October 22nd, 2008 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

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One tradition of The American Ceramic Society’s annual meetings and the coinciding MS&T conferences is the student mug drop competition.

The purpose of the Ceramic Mug Drop contest is to promote spirited and collegial competition among students by demonstrating their prowess in manufacturing a ceramic mug possessing high strength, mechanical reliability, and aesthetics. Mugs are fabricated by student teams from ceramic raw materials and are judged on both aesthetics and breaking thresholds. The mugs are then dropped from successively higher levels until the breaking threshold is reached. The mug with this highest successful drop distance wins.

Certain rules apply, but in general, the mugs must be made entirely from ceramic or glass materials, and may not contain any metal, plastic, paint, organics, or non-ceramic materials. Each must have a serviceable handle, be able to hold at least 500 ml of liquid but not more than 625 ml, be usable for drinking purposes and must be fired or formed at a temperature of 300°C or higher.

Some of the mugs are quite beautiful (see below) and another award is given for the “Best Looking” mug.

… Adding that the contest is sponsored by Keramos, the national ceramic engineering fraternity, and that the winning team was from the University of Washington.

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7 Responses to Video of the week: Cracking up over mugs

  1. Rachel says:

    Does anyone have suggestions for publications / books on this fabrication process?
    Many thanks!

  2. DIrk deGroot says:


    These were all Al2O3-MgO mugs.

  3. DIrk deGroot says:


    With exception to the first broken mug, they were all fired to 1550C. The first, we had a furnace problem (one of many) and it ran away to 1800 C for a few minutes and cut out, so it was only partially sintered.

  4. richard sum says:

    ceracmic tile from china ?

  5. Brett says:

    I’m watching the mug drop video at my pc in Australia. Great video – but were there really some fired or formed close to only 300 degrees centigrade? I’d really like to know how if you can point me at an article or two.


  6. Peter says:

    We actually have discussed something like that, or have a challenge of the professors versus students.

  7. Jim Salvatore says:

    Nice to see the video. Reminds me of the mug Mike Salov and Jeff Merker made atr Rutgers in 1995. That was successfully dropped from a 2 story building onto the concrete loading dock of the ceramics building at Rutgers. Maybe you should hold an beer mug dropping alumni reunion and/or drop contest.

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