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Our top Ceramic Carbides

Ceramic Carbides are the tough guys of the material world. They are among the world’s hardest known materials and are used in a variety of demanding industrial applications, from blasting-equipment nozzles to space-based mirrors. But there is more to these “tough guys” than hardness alone—they have a profile of properties that are valued in a wide range of applications and are worthy of consideration for new research and product design projects. Here, we take a look at their advantages and uses.

Silicon Carbide (SiC)

This material is also known as carborundum, a semiconductor made up of Silicon and Carbon. It occurs naturally with the rare mineral Moissanite but can also be synthetically produced.

It is widely used in a range of industries; some uses include automotive components and abrasive cutting tools.

Its properties include:

  • High thermal conductivity
  • Low thermal expansion coefficient
  • Outstanding thermal shock resistance
  • High hardness
  • Semiconductor properties (such as a wide bandgap and high critical breakdown strength)
  • A refractive index greater than diamond

 

Although many people are familiar with the general attributes of this advanced ceramic, an important consideration is that the properties of Silicon Carbide can be altered by varying the final compaction method! These alterations can provide knowledgeable engineers with small adjustments in performance that can potentially make a significant difference to the functionality of a finished component.

Boron Carbide (B4C)

This material is a hard Boron–Carbon Ceramic, with hardness ranking only behind diamond.

It is frequently used in applications such as abrasives, nozzles, nuclear applications and body armour, with properties including:

  • High hardness
  • Low thermal conductivity
  • High elastic modulus
  • High melting point
  • High strength
  • High wear resistance
  • Good nuclear properties
  • Low density

 

The use of Boron Carbide for armour applications has increased dramatically in recent years, with the Ceramic Carbide rapidly becoming the material of choice for military and law enforcement.

What’s the future for Ceramic Carbides?

Given their unique properties and proven versatility, these materials offer researchers and design engineers opportunities to investigate other exciting but currently unexplored uses for these remarkable advanced Ceramics.

For example, Silicon Carbide as a semiconductor material can be used in electric vehicles for electric vehicle charging modules and electrical modules, in high power module applications such as solar inverters and in LED optoelectronic devices, as it can achieve a low carbon and sustainable developments as well as energy strategy adjustments.

Moreover, Boron Carbide is further finding new applications as a biosensor, a high-efficiency thermoelectric material for electronic devices that can be operated at high temperatures and a great candidate for aerospace applications.

To learn more about Ceramic Carbides, download our whitepaper.

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