Whether we consider earliest pottery, precious Chinese porcelain, everyday china or tableware, they are all made with know-how and ... industrial minerals.
The glazes which cover them, making them attractive or simply fit for use are largely composed of minerals, mainly silicates, borates and metallic pigments.
Ceramics and refractory articles are indispensable in our homes and buildings in general: tiles, floortiles, pipes, refractory bricks are all 100% industrial minerals. Almost all industrial minerals are used to make ceramic bodies, though in varying proportions according to the application. Even if certain ceramics, e.g. sinks or working surfaces in kitchens, are tending to be replaced by resins, these also contain copious amounts of industrial minerals.
An important industrial application of ceramics is the manufacture of electrical insulators.
Technological developments in the ceramic sector is an area in which industrial minerals are at the forefront of progress. Being made of minerals, the properties of these new ceramics are obviously tightly dependent upon those of their raw materials, and purity requirements are becoming increasingly stringent.
Space shuttles are protected by ceramic tiles in order to allow them to support high temperatures when returning to the earth's atmosphere.
All this puts a challenge on the industrial minerals suppliers who have to continuously improve processing methods in order to satisfy this growing demand from society.