Sintered Silicon Carbide – A Super Material That Can Handle Almost Anything

Sintered Silicon Carbide – A Super Material That Can Handle Almost Anything

Can you think of a material that’s nearly as hard as diamond, floats in water, can take scorching heats, laughs off chemicals trying to eat it away, and keeps its strength no matter what you throw at it? Well, sintered silicon carbide is that incredible substance!

This stuff has such amazing properties that it can handle environments and conditions that would destroy pretty much anything else you could make stuff out of.

Let’s check out what makes sintered silicon carbide so special.

What is Sintered Silicon Carbide?

Sintered silicon carbide, also known as sintered SiC or SSiC, is made by mixing super fine SiC powder with some special ingredients that help it stick together, putting it in a mold and cooking it at very high temperature. This fuses the powder into a solid but doesn’t fully melt it. The lack of any glue or extra phases is what gives sintered SiC its wild set of characteristics.

This ceramic has hardness that’s second only to diamond. It’s got low density – around 40% that of steel and close to aluminum. Sintered SiC resists corrosion and oxidation incredibly well thanks to the strong bonds in silicon carbide. It also hangs onto its strength and stiffness even at really high temperatures when most materials turn into mush.

Why Is Sintered SiC So Special?

Let’s look at some of sintered SiC’s mind-blowing properties and what makes this stuff so useful:

It’s Crazy Hard

With a Knoop hardness of 2800 GPa, sintered silicon carbide can pretty much resist scratching or any kind of abrasion better than just about anything except diamond. This means it holds up much longer than other materials in uses where it’s sliding around and getting banged by particles.

Diamond is the only thing harder. The ridiculous hardness of SiC comes from the super strong bonds between the silicon and carbon atoms. These bonds hold on tight and don’t want to let go!

Lightweight Yet Strong

Despite having off-the-charts strength, sintered SiC has a density of only 3.15 g/cc. That’s close to aluminum, so this stuff is nice and light!

This means parts made from sintered SiC instead of metals can be way lighter. Rotating equipment can spin faster with lower weight. And get this – SiC actually floats in liquid aluminum! So it’s great for pump parts that have to deal with molten metal.

Resists Corrosion and Oxidation Like a Champ

Metals need a protective oxide layer to resist corrosion. But sintered SiC doesn’t have any binders or extras phases that can be attacked. It just laughs off corrosion in pretty much any environment you throw at it.

SiC keeps its strength even in oxidizing air up to 1650°C! Its corrosion and oxidation resistance comes from the extremely strong silicon-carbon bonds. They just don’t want to break apart and oxidize unless you go above super high temps.

Stays Strong Even in Insane Heat

The covalent bonds in SiC make it stay stiff and strong even at wild temperatures. Sintered SiC keeps its full strength up to around 1750°C – that’s red hot! Unlike metals, it won’t get weak or droopy.

The high modulus of SiC also means it won’t slowly deform or creep under heavy loads. So you can trust it to handle huge stresses at high temps. Perfect for furnace parts and aerospace uses!

Handles Thermal Shock

With a thermal conductivity of 125 W/mK, SiC transfers heat energy quickly and can handle rapid temperature swings. This gives sintered SiC great thermal shock resistance compared to other ceramics.

Sudden temp changes can make brittle stuff crack from uneven expansion. But SiC doesn’t crack because it conducts heat so well. It can adjust to temp swings no problem.

Sintered SiC Properties at Room Temperature

Here are some of sintered SiC’s key stats at room temp (20°C):

  • Density– 3.15 g/cc (lightweight!)
  • Hardness– 2800 GPa (crazy hard!)
  • Modulus of Rupture– 380 MPa
  • Tensile Strength– 250 MPa
  • Compressive Strength– 3900 MPa
  • Elastic Modulus– 410 GPa
  • Thermal Expansion– 4 x 10^-6 in/in °C (low expansion)
  • Thermal Conductivity– 125 W/mK (conducts heat well)
  • Poisson’s Ratio– 0.16

Uses for This Wonder Material

With its incredible mix of properties, sintered silicon carbide is the perfect pick for jobs where wear, corrosion, and extreme heat will cause trouble:

  • Seal facesin pumps handle abrasive slurries at high speed and pressure. SiC seals can take the punishment.
  • High heat furnace partslike tubes, supports, and thermocouple covers. SiC is strong even in the hottest furnaces.
  • Wear resistant liningsfor chutes and hoppers carrying abrasive ores or powders. SiC won’t wear out!
  • Gas turbine partsthat have to take oxidation, corrosion, and insane temps.
  • Nozzles for burnersand furnaces. SiC resists corrosion and heat.
  • Ceramic armormade of SiC is lighter than metal armor but still stops bullets.
  • 3D printed componentswith custom shapes are possible in SiC.

Sintered silicon carbide is like a super material that laughs at punishing conditions. It brings together amazing properties like diamond-like hardness and low density that make it last in situations where other materials quickly fail. This makes sintered SiC an extremely valuable ceramic for challenging applications.

ceramic ferrules ceramic ferrule for stud welding ceramic ferrule