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Material Research: Solid Surfaces

Guide explaining the different types of materials and manufacturers.

Solid Surfaces Overview

Solid surfaces are engineered, durable, hard materials that can endure rigorous use. They are used for countertops, flooring, and walls. The C&M Library features solid surface samples in ceramic, composite, and glass.

  • Ceramic - the atoms are ionically bonded which holds them firmly in place, making them hard and strong. Traditionally, ceramics have been described as non-metal compounds that have been shaped and then hardened by heating to high temperatures or by chemical reactions (clays and concrete).
  • Composites - materials made from combinations of materials from any of the other categories (like fiberglass which is a combination of glass fiber and resin). Laminates are composites in which layers of different materials are bonded together with adhesive to give added strength, durability, or some other benefit.
  • Glass - hard, brittle, and usually transparent substances commonly made from sand heated with various chemicals. It behaves like a solid material, but it's also a sort of weird liquid in disguise! 

Research Information

Ceramics and Glass in Industry - From the American Ceramics Society, this site explains the main applications of industrial ceramics and glass in basic terms.

Composites Lab - This site explains what composites are, their history, and gives an industrial overview.

What Goes Into Making Glass? - From the Stretch Glass Society, this site discusses various glass materials.

Videos

Fire + Sand = Glass

The Making of Ceramics

Composite Materials

College for Creative Studies website