Most people associate ceramics with teapots, vases, tiles and other everyday household goods but few people realise just how common ceramics, in other forms, is used in other goods.

We know that ceramic pots and vases are made from clay but ceramics are also present in headphones, watches, cars and space shuttles.

I remember the first time I purchased a ceramic knife which promised to give me years of service. I mean, what is a ceramic knife? I won’t go into the details but all I know is that it’s a sharp knife which doesn’t need sharpening as much as a regular knife. I use mine every day in the kitchen for simple repeatable tasks such a slicing through fruit and vegetables.

My second encounter of an unusual use of ceramic was when I upgraded my mountain bike to have ceramic disc brakes. My caliper brakes were useless in the rain and disc brakes had the visual look of something more substantial. I have no idea why ceramic is a good materials for disc brakes but from experience they stop my bike quicker and more safely than my caliper brakes.

I watched a TV documentary on the military using composite ceramic as a form of armoured plating for their vehicles and bullet proof vests. The cockpits of military aircraft are also protected using composite ceramics.

Ceramic tiles are widely used in houses for walls and floors but did you know the underside the Shuttle uses a form of ceramic tiles to insulate it’s belly for re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere?

A recent purchase on Amazon introduced me to the use of ceramics in headphones. Apparently ceramics help to keep the sound in and exterior sound out. I’m not a music expert but the quality of the sound seems good enough for me.

With all the numerous uses of ceramics I can’t help but visualise tableware and pots. Some people prefer the finer porcelain bone china but I like a good thick ceramic mug and plate. I have recently started a hobby collecting ceramic mugs which led me into designing my own. Initially I painted plain white mugs but know I am playing around with sticking ceramic decals onto my mugs which is a very interesting process.

I have had a go at re-tiling my bathroom with the help of another Amazon purchase – a laser level. These things are great and I wish I had one years ago when I bought my first house.