Silicon nitride copper extrusion dies

How Does Microstructure Affect Ceramic Properties?

Understanding the relationship between microstructure and ceramic properties is essential for the development of high-performance, advanced ceramic materials. Ceramic materials, particularly silicon nitride ceramics, exhibit a variety of unique properties, such as high strength, thermal shock resistance, and oxidation resistance, making them ideal for demanding applications. However, these properties are highly dependent on the material’s microstructure, which is governed by parameters such as grain size, shape, and distribution.Continue reading

Syalon 050 alpha-beta Micrograph

What is Alpha-Sialon?

There are a plethora of applications worldwide that benefit from using technical ceramics because of their high strength, thermal stability, and other unique advanced properties, and industrial processing is no exception. Ceramics play an important role in cutting tools, high-temperature furnace components, and high-wear applications, as they can withstand harsh environments. One ceramic material with very interesting properties is alpha-sialon. Sialons were developed as a cost-effective alternative to silicon nitride and are more often found in three useable phases, one of them being alpha-sialon. This post will provide an overview of alpha-sialon’s structure, primary applications, and benefits.Continue reading

Syalon 101 - beta Micrograph

What is Beta-Sialon?

Sialons are at the forefront of technical ceramic capabilities and applications, partly due to their relative novelty. First formed in the 1980s, sialon ceramics are now a well-established innovation. Intensive research and development into formulation optimisation, better forming methods, and higher-performance applications has fostered an in-depth understanding of this complex family of materials. However, the excitement surrounding sialon materials is largely due to their versatility; there are three usable phases of sialon ceramics, each exhibiting advantageous properties.Continue reading

Si3N4, silicon nitride

Exploring the Atomic Structure of Silicon Nitride

Silicon nitride is a ceramic chemical compound comprised of silicon and nitrogen and is widely used across many industries. Silicon nitride offers interesting mechanical and thermal properties, which can be tailored for use in many specific high-temperature and wear-resistant applications, as well as its use as an insulating and chemical barrier in integrated circuits.1 However, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the behavior and properties of silicon nitride, it is necessary to understand its atomic structure. In this blog post, we will explore the atomic structure of silicon nitride and how this influences its properties.Continue reading

Advanced ceramic materials in use at an aluminium foundry

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.Continue reading

Silicon Nitride vs. Alumina Faceplates: A Comparison

Silicon nitride and alumina are advanced ceramic materials frequently used to produce faceplates in the aerospace, automotive, and electronics industries. Faceplates, often called technical ceramic plates, are crucial and common as they are the outer layer of a component designed to protect the internal structure from abrasive media, corrosive environments, or extreme temperatures. Their secondary function is to provide insulation and help regulate the temperature within a device or component. Throughout this blog post, we will look at the similarities and differences between silicon nitride and alumina and why they are suitable for engineering faceplates.

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Syalon 101 extrusion dies

Enduring High Temperatures in Industry with Advanced Ceramics

Advanced ceramics are ideal materials for high-temperature applications because of their low thermal expansion, wide ranging thermal conductivity, and ability to withstand extreme temperatures under high loads without enduring damage. There are several families of advanced ceramics, including ultra-high temperature ceramics (UHTCs), which are known for maintaining their stability at temperatures of over 2000oC. Advanced ceramics are suitable for various demanding industrial processes, during which materials and equipment are subjected to high temperatures that could result in oxidation, creep, deformation, or complete failure if their properties do not suit the applications. This blog post will look at how advanced ceramics are used in industry to overcome high-temperature processes.Continue reading

Why Advanced Ceramics Excel in High-Temperature Environments

Advanced ceramics are inorganic materials that possess specific, high-performance properties. Because of these properties, advanced ceramics play a vital role in many industries and high-temperature environments, such as electronics, metal production, power generation, and other industrial processing sectors. This blog post will analyse what makes advanced ceramics superior materials for high-temperature environments.Continue reading

Aluminium Foundry

How High-Temperature Resistant Materials Function

Heat is an essential aspect of numerous industrial processes: turbines and generators often operate most effectively at higher temperatures; many key chemical process industry (CPI) reactions occur at extreme temperatures; extruded, pressed, and welded metal parts are routinely formed when heated to the point of plasticity. These are just a few examples where temperatures exceeding many hundreds of degrees are routinely generated and sustained. Naturally, all these applications require high-temperature resistant materials that can withstand the enormous thermal shock and long-term stresses associated with these extreme environments. So, how exactly do they work?Continue reading