What are Ceramics and Glass?

While most are familiar with ceramics and glass, they are much more than pottery, dishes, and window glass. As you will learn, Ceramics are Cool!  Check out all the resources below!

Ceramic and glass materials enable advanced technologies—sometimes as components in devices, sometimes as materials necessary for manufacturing other materials. Components include catalytic converter substrates for your car, fiber optic glasses that bring the internet to you, light bulbs, and dental crowns. Behind the scenes, refractory ceramics line steelmaking furnaces and cement kilns, draw heat out of your cell phone, and project jet engines during flight.

Broadly speaking, ceramic materials are nonmetallic, inorganic materials, that is, not metals, not plastics, not organic chemicals. Compounds such as oxides, nitrides, carbides, and borides are generally considered ceramic materials. Glasses are amorphous materials with a wide composition ranges. However, most commercial glasses are silicate or borosilicate based compositions.

Everywhere you look, ceramics and glass are hard at work—even though they may be unseen. Explore the links below to learn how ceramics and glasses are used everyday!

Learn More about Ceramics and Glass in Our World

Resources for 7th-12th grades

The American Ceramic Society and The Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation are pleased to offer a variety of resources for middle and high school teachers who have an interest in teaching materials science.  From our Materials Science Classroom Kit to free downloadable lessons and instructional videos, classroom resources are just a click away!

Answers to "What is materials science?"  "What does a materials scientist do?"

Here is a resource that explains what materials science is!

How to Communicate about Science

Be sure to take a look at information developed with help from the ACerS President's Council of Student Advisors on "Communicating Science"—a great resource for effectively communicating about science to those who do not have a technical background.Click here!

Teachers: Visit our LinkedIn page just for you

We have a special page on LinkedIn just for teachers!  Visit us at The Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation's Teachers Forum for additional resources, to share best practices, correspond with other teachers and so forth.

Resources for Younger Students

Click here for a great website for the younger ones to learn about glass and recycling. There are age-appropriate videos, fun activities, and other resources!

We've found some terrific experiments by Bill Nye, The Science Guy, to help your children/students that will not only occupy their time, but educate and enrich!  Click here!

Materials Science Demonstrations

Here is a link to a wonderful manual that contains over 40 materials science demonstrations. Topics covered include structures, mechanical properties, kinetics, magnetism, optical properties, thermal properties, corrosion, and polymers.

Click here for this resource.

Resources about Refractories

This is an excellent presentation on LinkedIn about how refractories are contributing to global health and safety.  Click here!

Resources about Manufacturing

Lehigh Valley (PA) hosted a student video contest called "What's so Cool about Manufacturing?"  This video features information about a water bottle manufacturing plant.


ACerS members are materials scientists who specialize in ceramic and glass.

Materials matter because everything is made of stuff!

Eleven Divisions focus on specific materials and applications.

Read the latest industry news and trends.

Branches of Ceramics

Most people are familiar with traditional ceramics used in everyday objects such as dishes, pottery, sanitaryware, brick, art. Similarly, we are accustomed to glass in windows, drinking glasses, microscope optics, and fish tanks.

However, advanced ceramics and glass contribute in obvious and hidden ways. Examples include catalytic converter substrates in vehicles, cover glasses for smartphones and tablets, refractory linings of steelmaking furnaces, fiber optics for the internet, bone cements, ceramic armor, cutting tools, and much more.

From Better Brick to Today's Advanced Ceramics and Glass

Brick manufacturers founded ACerS in 1898 to apply scientific methods to manufacturing of clay products. Today, ACerS members research, develop, manufacture, and design engineered ceramics and glasses for use in nearly every technology.