What is the Difference Between Ceramic and Pottery

The main difference between ceramic and pottery is that pottery uses clay as the main ingredient while ceramics does not essentially use clay as a main ingredient.

Pottery involves making pots and other items from clay hardening them by heat. Ceramic involves makings things from inorganic, non-metal materials that are permanently changed when they’re heated. Pottery is a part of ceramic as clay is a ceramic material. But, not all ceramics are pottery.  

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Pottery
     – Definition, Properties, Uses
2. What is Ceramic 
     – Definition, Properties, Uses
3. What is the Difference Between Ceramic and Pottery
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Ceramic, Clay, PotteryDifference Between Ceramic and Pottery - Comparison Summary

What is Pottery

Pottery refers to the process of making vessels and other objects with clay and hardening them with heat. The word pottery can also refer to containers such as pots, bowls, and dishes made through this process. The word pottery has various definitions. ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) defines pottery as “all fired ceramic wares that contain clay when formed, except technical, structural, and refractory products.”

Difference Between Ceramic and Pottery

Figure 1: Pottery

Clay is the main ingredient in pottery. Pottery is made by forming various shapes or items with clay and then heating them at high temperature in a kiln or pit. Heating causes permanent changes in clay, including increased strength and rigidity.

Furthermore, there are three main divisions in pottery as earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. Earthenware is nonvitreous pottery that has normally been fired at relatively low temperatures. It is coarse and porous and absorbs water. Stoneware, on the other hand, is pottery that has been fired at relatively high temperatures. It’s also strong, non-porous to water. Moreover, porcelain is pottery made by heating materials like kaolin in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C. Porcelain is strong and translucent.

What is Ceramic

Ceramic refers to things made from non-metal materials that undergo permanent change when subject to heat. In fact, the word ceramic actually originates from the Greek word meaning pottery. Traditionally, clay-based pots and vessels, decorative objects, and building products like tiles come under the word ceramics. In this sense, ceramic is the exact same as pottery. However, with modern technological advancements, the word ceramics include materials like glass and advanced ceramics. Therefore, pottery is only a part of ceramics.

Main Difference - Ceramic vs Pottery

Figure 2: Ceramic Electronic

Advanced ceramics are not clay-based. They are based on oxides, non-oxides, or their combination. Oxides usually include alumina and zirconia while non-oxides include carbides, nitrides, and borides. Advanced ceramics are used in many applications, including electronics, medicine, aerospace, automotive, personal protection, and aerospace.  Moreover, artificial teeth and bones, ceramic catalytic converters in vehicles, ceramic magnets on refrigerators, and ceramic insulators in television are some examples of ceramic in everyday use.

Difference Between Ceramic and Pottery

Definition

Pottery refers to pots and other items made from clay and hardened by heat while ceramic refers to things made from inorganic, non-metal materials that change permanently when subject to heat.

Ingredients

Pottery uses clay as the main ingredient while ceramics does not essentially use clay as the main ingredient. In fact, ceramics can involve glass and advanced ceramics, which are based on oxides and non-oxides.

Applications

Applications of pottery involve items like pots, vessels, dishes, tiles, bricks and decorative objects while ceramic involves products like artificial bones and teeth, electronics, protective body armour, vehicle parts, in addition to its traditional uses like cookware, decorative items and construction items.

Conclusion

Pottery involves making pots and other items from clay hardening them by heat while ceramic involves makings things from inorganic, non-metal materials that undergo permanent change when subject to heat. In conclusion, the main difference between ceramic and pottery is that pottery uses clay as the main ingredient while ceramics does not essentially use clay as the main ingredient.

Reference:

1. “Pottery.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Sept. 2020, Available here.
2. “What Are Ceramics?” Science Learning Hub, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Ancient, pottery, pots, clay, antique, art, artisan, artistic, background, bowl, brown” (CC0) via Pikist
2. “Ceramic resonator” By Achituv – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

Leave a Reply