The ceramics industry in India is highly demanding and candidates who choose career as a ceramic engineer may get immense success. Ceramic engineering is the science and technology to create ceramic objects from inorganic, non-metallic materials. Ceramic materials are used widely from household utensils to spacecraft as heat-resistant materials. In simple term, ceramic engineering denotes to the processing and fabrication of components/ devices/ machines of ceramics for technological applications, and glasses of different types.
Ceramic engineers work with inorganic, non-metallic materials to develop materials that support products and systems that impact greatly on living of people. It can be understood through various examples. Fibre optic materials are critical to the telecommunications industry, and cell phones could not be developed without the development of electronic ceramics. Ceramic engineers develop materials that solve specific problems like, ceramics that are stable at extremely high temperatures, and materials that are compatible with the human body to replace or enhance damaged or diseased tissues.
Candidates who choose career in ceramic engineering must take science in Class 12. They must obtain a bachelor’s in ceramic engineering. Entry is usually through a competitive test. There are numerous national and regional engineering colleges where ceramic engineering is taught. A master’s degree and a doctorate can make career bright for such candidates.
There are some professional courses that train in Chemical engineering, Chemistry (for manufacturing), Mechanical engineering (for the study of strength, wear, etc.), or Electrical engineering and Physics (for optimization of electric or Magnetic applications). Recently, field of ceramic studies include single crystals or glass fibres, along with traditional Polycrystalline materials, and the applications of these have been overlapping and changing rapidly.
Ceramic Engineers often specialize in one or more products :
White wares, these are porcelain and china dinnerware or high voltage electrical insulators.
Structural materials, these are brick, tile, and turbine blades.
Electronic ceramics are magnetics, memory systems, and microwave devices.
Refractory coatings for metals, glass products, abrasives, and fuel elements for nuclear energy.
One of the highest priority projects of Ceramic Engineers is the development of a ceramic engine which would replace the present diesel, gasoline and turbo engines.
Ceramic Engineers can work in both scientific and production features of the profession. They may also work as administrators, project supervisors, sales engineers or technical consultants to firms using ceramic materials.
Many Ceramic Engineers work in the nuclear field, as ceramic fuel materials make nuclear power generation possible.
There is a high growth of these professionals in the electronics industry as ceramics are used as insulators for transistors and integrated circuits.
Work of Ceramic engineers is complicated as they assist to develop varied products like protective tiles for space shuttles, ceramic fillings for teeth, Unbreakable dinner plates, and sophisticated telescope lenses. Ceramics have applications in almost any industry, which demands the use of heat-resistant materials. Ceramic Engineers are experts in the study of these materials, their behaviour, application, and use. They develop techniques for processing non-metallic inorganic materials into many ceramic products ranging from glassware, fibre optics products, cement, bricks, to coatings for space vehicles, materials for microelectronics, components of nuclear fuel, and pollution control devices. In the age of technical advancement in the area of physics and chemistry, there are huge applications of ceramic engineering.
Most ceramic engineers are recruited in the stone, clay, and glass industries. Other candidates get job in industries that use ceramics, such as the aerospace, iron and steel, and chemical industries. Some ceramic engineers teach and do research in universities. Others work for government agencies and in research centres.
It is observed that some ceramic engineers have expertise in one type of work. For example, many are involved in research and development. They develop new ceramic materials synthetically or from minerals found in the earth. Ceramics for superconductivity require rare earth minerals, including yttrium and erbium. Other ceramic engineers involve in advancement of the technology of existing ceramics, such as improving heat and fire resistance.
Ceramic engineers may also discover new uses for ceramic products, such as using ceramics in miniaturized circuits and human bone and teeth replacements. Many ceramic engineers are involved in production. They guide the processing of the natural raw minerals and synthetic materials used to make ceramics. They also design the ovens and other equipment used in manufacturing as well as direct the crews that build the plants and operate the kilns. Ceramic engineers also get job in sales and demonstrate customers that how to use ceramics to solve their design and production problems. They sometimes supervise the installation and operation of ceramic equipment in customers' plants.
There are also numerous product fields within the industry. Ceramic engineers generally gain expertise in one or more of these products. For example, some work with refractories, which are fire- and heat-resistant materials. For example, coatings made of refractory materials are used to protect the metal exteriors of spacecraft. Ceramic engineers who specialize in electrical ceramic materials are called di-electrical engineers. They are concerned with the production of thermal, nuclear, and electrical current containments for power generation. Many engineers study glass and white wares, which is a broad field that includes china dishes and electric insulators. Other special product fields include abrasives, cements, structural ceramics, superconducting materials, and non-metallic nuclear fuels.
There are many roles which ceramics play in various industries such as engineers are involved in research, product development, and production engineering. The engineer is frequently challenged to produce new ideas and to recommend solutions to difficult problems. Engineers may have main responsibility such as preparing labour cost analyses or troubleshooting problems.
Develop improved heat tiles to protect the space shuttle and the future supersonic space plane from the searing heat of re-entry.
Produce ceramic teeth, bones, and joints to replace parts of the human body or improve advanced medical equipment to continue research in the way against disease.
Assist to make innovative, ultra-fast computer systems using ceramic superconductors, lasers, and glass optical fibres.
Develop materials to enclose and support aircraft engines that run at high temperatures.
Improve fibre optic cables that permit doctors to see inside the human body and permit the human voice to travel thousands of miles under the ocean without distortion.
Explore new ways to use ceramics to build highways and bridges, or to carry water and waste to treatment plants.
Ceramic Engineers play an important role in new field of fibre optics which has dramatic effect on telecommunication and medical industries. Since ceramic components are used wide spread therefore ceramic engineers are in great demand. Ceramic Engineers contribute their expertise in both scientific and production aspects of the profession and also get prestigious job as administrators, project supervisors, sales engineers or technical consultants to firms where ceramic materials are in use.
Working conditions of ceramic engineers depend on the area of employment within the field. Ceramic engineers in research and development often work forty-hour weeks, mostly in modern offices and laboratories. Those candidates involved in production are expected to spend more time at production or construction sites. They may have to work overtime or rotating shifts. Sales engineers must travel extensively. All ceramic engineers spend additional time on the job where deadlines are to be met.
Ceramic engineers also extend their services to solve problems and communicate their ideas to others. They must develop capabilities in science and mathematics. Because they often work as part of a team, ceramic engineers should also be able to cooperate and work well with others.
Institutes that offers ceramic engineering courses:
Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute (a branch of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), Kolkata, organises different training programmes
Top Colleges that offer Ceramic Engineering/Sciences Abroad:
Candidates who are looking for ceramic engineering jobs enhance their employment opportunities by participating in internship or co-op programs offered through their colleges. These experiences offer the students with broad knowledge and experience, making them more attractive candidates to employers.
Candidates who have completed graduation may find entry-level jobs as ceramic engineers, materials science specialists or materials scientists, among other possible job titles. These jobs span several industries that rely on ceramic materials, including aerospace, construction, electronics, medicine and transportation. Candidates needs to complete masters or doctoral degree to get higher level jobs in ceramic engineering. Positions could also be sought in business and management.
In general, job opportunities for Ceramic engineers / technologists are available in both public and private sectors. Some of the job profiles in the field of ceramic engineering/ technology are as under:
To get suitable job in the public sector, ceramic engineering graduates have to clear various government examinations such as UPSC, PSC or SSC. Major public sector organizations recruiting these graduates are:
Remuneration of ceramic engineers depend on the education and experience of the ceramic engineer, the location, and the type of job. Benefits generally include paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and retirement savings plans. As per the information available, initial pay scale for ceramic engineers may be low as compared to engineers from certain other branches. Fresh ceramic technology graduate can earn basic salary between Rs. 8000 to Rs. 15,000 per month. Candidates who have several years of experience can earn more than Rs. 40,000 per month. A senior engineer can earn up to Rs 50,000 a month. Experts at management levels can earn up to Rs. 60,000/- or even more. The starting basic salary scale for a lecturer in a college is Rs 12,000- Rs 13,000 per month besides allowances.
In the government sector, initial basic pay scale is very attractive in addition to other perks and benefits. Life, health, and accident insurance and retirement benefits are usually offered to ceramic technologists on a contributing or employer-paid basis. Some employers also offer stock options; profit sharing plans or pays annual bonuses. It is visualized by experts that job opportunities of ceramic engineers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions and increasing by 9% through 2018. The increased use of ceramic materials for a variety of purposes will push job progression.