Say the word ceramic and many people think of teacups or plates that shatter when dropped. Although scientists value high-quality ceramics, such as those used to shield spacecraft from heat, for their combination of heat resistance, stiffness, and lightness, even these ceramics are brittle and difficult to cut or drill without breaking.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.