Why Choose Silicon Nitride for Ladles?

Chemical and process industries (CPI) require the routine handling of extremely harsh chemicals, usually in bulk and often in a continuous flow. Non-ferrous foundry applications have similar demands, with aggressive melt chemistries and extreme temperatures being a continuous demand for critical components. Both applications use ceramic ladles and crucibles to correctly handle volatile materials during critical processes. These ladles are containers used to handle and transport non-ferrous metals, such as aluminium and its alloys, and can be hand ladles or ladles designed for robotic arms.

This is mandatory for numerous reasons, including employee safety, production throughput, manufacturing quality, and more.   Nevertheless, these components must be manufactured to the highest standard and with high-performance materials to maintain these key quality assurance metrics over the long term. 

Benefits of Choosing Silicon Nitride

Silicon nitride and sialon advanced ceramics are used to manufacture ladles and crucibles because of their outstanding chemical and thermal stability, which is essential for CPI and foundry applications. Silicon nitride also offers excellent physical properties, outperforming traditional materials like cast iron and silicon carbide. As a result, silicon nitride provides minimal contamination and an impressive service life.

Some of the key benefits of choosing silicon nitride for manufacturing ladles include the following:

  • Firstly, silicon nitride is a highly refractory material, which means it has a high resistance to heat and can withstand extreme temperatures without degrading or losing strength. This makes it an ideal choice for use in the chemical and foundry industries, where ladles are used to transport molten metals and other high-temperature liquids.
  • Secondly, silicon nitride has excellent resistance to corrosion and chemical attack. It can withstand exposure to a wide range of chemicals and other corrosive substances, which makes it an excellent choice for use in the chemical industry.
  • Thirdly, silicon nitride is lightweight and has a high strength-to-weight ratio, which makes it easy to handle and reduces the risk of accidents or injuries. This is particularly important in industries where ladles are used to transport large quantities of molten material, as the weight of the ladle can be a significant safety concern.
  • Finally, silicon nitride ladles have a longer lifespan compared to other materials. They require less maintenance and are less prone to cracking or other forms of damage, which means they can be used for longer periods before needing to be replaced. This can result in significant cost savings for the company.
Sialon aluminium foundry handling equipment.

Sialon aluminium foundry handling equipment. Image Credit: International Syalons (Newcastle) Ltd.

International Syalons and Silicon Nitride Ladles

International Syalons is one of the leading advanced ceramics providers in the UK, offering a range of silicon nitride and sialon ceramics for a range of industrial wear applications. Our products offer outstanding corrosion, thermal, and wear resistance and can be engineered to five different grades.

Silicon nitride is used to manufacture foundry handling equipment such as ladles and crucibles, with International Syalons using our advanced ceramics – Syalon 101 and Syalon 050. Syalons 101 and 050 each have their own properties, making them suitable for slightly different applications. Let’s take a look at those below.

Syalon 101

Syalon 101 is suitable for both hand ladles and robotic arm ladles, as it is a cost-effective solution that offers improved reliability and durability. Other properties include high chemical stability in a range of acids and alkalis, high corrosion and thermal shock resistance, and extreme hardness, which means it performs better than traditional solutions. 

Syalon 050

Syalon 050 is used in applications where temperatures can exceed 1200oC. Its physical properties are outstanding and can hold up to 1400oC. It also offerings excellent corrosion, oxidation, wear, and high-temperature resistance and was designed for high performance under challenging operating conditions. 

Contact a member of International Syalons today to learn more about using silicon nitride for ladles.

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