One reason is for electronics in extreme environments. Glass/Ceramics are more energetically stable than metals, so can withstand much higher temperatures. Think advanced sensors inside a rocket combustion chamber... while it is on.
It can burn just about anything which is why it’s difficult to get the ceramic pressure vessel right. Wondering if this will do anything to improve the situation.
- ceramics are thermally quite stable (with respect to expansion/contraction)
- ceramics do not conduct electricity
- ceramics do not melt easily
- ceramics are hard; leading to excellent longevity
- ceramics are chemically very stable
This is a pretty major thing.
If you think about it, up until about 1800, virtually everything humans made was made of stone, earth/brick, small cermic items, wood, plant fibres, animal fibres, glass, or a few easily-worked metals.
Since 1800, vast amounts of iron, steel, aluminium, concrete, titanium, plastics, composites (usually fibre + resin), processed woods, paper, glass, and ceramics have entered into use. We build things that simply couldn't exist or perform 200, 100, or even 50 years ago.
A common problem with metals is that they're either hard to process, or rare. Ceramics are based on very available silicates (though specific properties may rely on very high purities or rare forms), and are fairly easily processed. They do tend to be brittle and handle poorly under tension, or under vibration.
Your question's likely usefully answered in terms of past revolutions in manufacturing and construction: the stone arch, Roman concrete, Egyptian pyramids, Gothic cathedrals, large warships (wood, iron, steel, aluminium), pipelines, motors, iron-framed presses and machinery, steel-framed buildings, copper-based electric motors and transmission wires, aluminium and aircraft, titanium and supersonic / hypersonic aircraft and missiles, glass and optics, plastic and mass consumer goods, silicon and electronics, artificial fibres and modern clothing.
Making it possible for even smaller computers.
Crush it into sand? It is one of the hardest materials, one needs a harder material to crush something. Heat/cool to have it crumble does not work well either with ceramics.
Melting it into glass or something? Might not be practical due to extremely high temps required.
Using it as "pebble" in road/bridge construction? Not sure if concrete will be able to stick to it.