As the utilization of ceramic materials is developing at a great pace, so too is the science of ceramics improving the understanding we have about these high-technology materials. New and improved ways of examining and investigating monolithic ceramics and ceramic composites are also being developed and reported at a great pace in a wide-ranging area of the scientific and technical literature. This book has been written with the aim of increas ing the awareness of the general materials worker of developments in modern ceramics and of bringing to a focus how much the study of their hardness can contribute to our understanding of them and lead to technical data that can be of considerable use in this fast-growing field. The readership will consist of materials scientists, metallurgists, and engineers moving into the new worlds of advanced ceramics and ceramic-containing composites. Detailed works on hardness are to be found in the metallurgical area, where much of the theory and early applications were developed. This book does not overly stress this early development of theory and practice, but concentrates wherever possible on the ceramics and glasses. Thus Chapter 1 introduces the general subject area to those whose interest may have been blunted in the past by the emphasis on one area of materials. Subjects raised in the first chapter are developed more fully in later chapters.