87445 - Ceramics Technology and Materials Characterization M

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

Introduction to the characteristics, the properties, the manufacturing, the application and the recycling of ceramic materials. Knowledge of basic and advanced techniques for mechanical, thermal and morphological characterization of materials.

Course contents

Prior Knowledge

A prior knowledge and understanding of topics such as materials microstructure and mechanical properties is required to attend with profit this course. These knowledges are usually acquired following the course of Materials Science.

Fluent spoken and written English is a necessary pre-requisite: all lectures and tutorials will be in English.

Course Content

Ceramics Technology (48 h)

Ceramic materials: definitions and main chemical, physical, mechanical properties. The syntering process, ceramic materials microstructure and porosity.

Main raw materials for traditional ceramics: chemical composition, mineralogical structure, granulometry, rheology, physical and thermal properties.

Technological processes for the production of bricks and tiles: preaparation of the mixes, shaping process, drying, firing and main process parameters. Innovation in tile industrial plants and relevant enviromental issues. Tiles classification, standards and market analysis.

Glass. Raw materials, technology, main chemical-physical-mechanical properties. Advanced ceramics and refractories: classification and main physical-mechanical-thermal characteristics. Introduction to bioceramics.

Durability in ceramic materials: main weathering mechanisms of ceramics. Evaluation of durability features.

Materials Characterization (24 h)

Methods for the determination of the physical properties of materials: density and porosity.

Determination of the surface properties of materials: contact angle, surface energy, tensiometry.

Spectroscopic methods for the chemical characterization of materials: FT-IR, UV-VIS, XRD.

Microscopies: optical, electronic SEM, TEM, atomic force AFM, confocal.

Determination of the mechanical properties of materials: static and dynamic methods, tensile testing, compression testing, impact testing.

Fatigue and wear. Introduction to fracture mechanics.

Thermal and thermomechanical analysis: TGA, DSC, DMTA.


  • L.Bertolini – Materiali da costruzione, Volume primo, 2° Ed. – Città Studi Ed., Milano, 2010
  • W.F.Smith - Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali, 3° Ed - McGraw-Hill It., Milano, 2006
  • Any English text (University level) about Ceramic Materials.
  • H. H. Willard, L. L. Merritt Jr, J. A. Dean, F. A. Settke Jr, INSTRUMENTAL METHODS OF ANALYSIS, ISBN 0-534-08142-8

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons and laboratory classes

Laboratory classes will also be performed at Centro Ceramico (via Martelli 26, Bologna).

Assessment methods

Achievements will be assessed by means of an oral examination. This is based on an analytical assessment of the "expected learning outcomes". In particular:

(i) the knowledge of the ceramic process and the main characteristics of ceramic materials as function of their applications;

(ii) the understanding of the main investigation techniques for the determination of the nature and the microstructure of materials as well as for the determination of the mechanical and thermal properties.

The examination also takes into account Laboratory activity.

The oral session consists of a technical conversation with questions by the Professor and answers from the student.

High grades will be awarded to students who demonstrate an organic understanding of the subject and the above-mentioned outcomes, a high ability for critical discussion and a clear and concise presentation of the contents.

A failing grade will be awarded if the student shows knowledge gaps in key-concepts of the subject, inappropriate use of language, and/or logic failures in the analysis of the subject.

Teaching tools

Videos, power point presentations, traditional blackboard.

Office hours

See the website of Maria Bignozzi

See the website of Elisa Franzoni

See the website of Paola Fabbri