Silicon nitride ceramics (Si3N4) occupy a storied niche in the history of engineering materials, rising from relative obscurity in the early days of the industrial era to become one of the most important technical-grade ceramics available today. Since their renaissance in the early 1970s, silicon nitride ceramics have successfully replaced numerous legacy materials as the advanced ceramic of choice for various high-performance components. These include:Continue reading
In the field of material technology, nonoxide technical ceramics are among the most recent developments. They are increasingly being used for a range of applications thanks to their chemical, thermal, and mechanical properties. Both sialon and silicon carbide (SiC) ceramics are useful candidates for energy conversion and production. Already, they have shown exceptional prowess in abrasive environmental applications and those which involve harsh chemicals. So, what are the differences between sialon and silicon carbide, and which applications does each best serve? Here, International Syalons takes a closer look.Continue reading
Zirconia ceramics represent the primary application for the compound zirconium dioxide (ZrO2), accounting for over half of the world’s zirconium demand. Recent reports suggest that the global zirconia market will top 1.5 million tonnes by 2022; meaning global demand of the raw mineral purely for zirconia ceramics manufacturing could top 750,000 tonnes in a few short years. Estimates suggest that this is less than 1% of the world’s total zirconium reserves.Continue reading
Zirconium dioxide (ZrO2) is one of the most well-characterised ceramic materials on earth. It occurs naturally in the mineral baddeleyite, which primarily adopts a monoclinic crystalline structure: one of the three primary forms of the material. The most widely-known form of zirconia is the cubic crystal phase which often serves as a cost-effective diamond substitute. However, estimates suggest that demand for zirconia ceramics accounts for as much as 54% of the worldwide zirconium market.
Sintering is arguably the most important step in the ceramics manufacturing process. It is the phase when the green-body is fired at temperatures approaching the ceramic powder’s melting point, causing the consolidated raw material to undergo numerous chemical and physical changes. Several distinct sintering methods exist, but each one essentially exploits the same properties of ceramics to form a densified workpiece with desired properties and material characteristics.Continue reading
Lithographic additive manufacturing of advanced ceramics is an emergent technology that is unlikely to replace conventional bulk sintering and machining any time soon – if ever. This is due, primarily, to the scale and precision of components manufactured via 3D printing.Continue reading
Armed with innovative 3D printing technologies, engineers have designed a new generation of microturbines capable of unparalleled operating efficiency at higher speeds and elevated temperatures.Continue reading
Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has been on the rise since the early 1980s yet it is still considered an immature technology. The first iterations used photo-hardening of thermoset polymers to generate three-dimensional models via masking or fiber scanning. There are now a myriad of techniques available to generate components via deposition as opposed to conventional machining, yet 3D printing is still generally used for prototyping and hobbyist applications. Significant investment has been made in industrial spaces to help realize the commerciality of additive manufacturing at appropriate scales, particularly for technical ceramic materials.Continue reading
Technical ceramics possess numerous properties that make them attractive engineering solutions for challenging applications. They largely outperform industrial-grade polymers and metals for high-temperature operation, with comprehensively superior mechanical properties and thermodynamic stability. Ceramic solutions are currently utilised in industries as varied as aerospace and defence, automotive engineering, chemicals and petrochemicals manufacturing, energy generation, and molten metal handling.Continue reading
Visit International Syalons and SILCA/Calsitherm at Hannover Messe 1–5 April 2019 at Stand L08, Hall 3, in the Ceramic Applications area.