The category of materials regarded as ceramics comprises a substantial quantity of various substances. Some of these, defined as advanced ceramics, have emerged as high-performance engineering materials.
These embody a broad spectrum of advantageous characteristics, encompassing extreme rigidity, lightness and temperature resistance, which can satisfy, and even exceed, the rigors of applications in virtually all industrial and technological sectors.
This article examines the unique and diverse characteristics of advanced ceramics, and examines some of their principal functions.
In the conventional sense, the word “ceramics” describes clay products, silicate glass and cement. However, by definition, any non-metallic inorganic solid compound qualifies as a ceramic.
This definition authorizes the inclusion of most elements, bonded in almost any way, with the consequence that the term “ceramics” encompasses an extensive array of contemporary engineering materials.
Broadly speaking, such materials demonstrate exceedingly high working temperatures, stiffness, durable strengths and chemical resilience. These high-performance materials, categorized as advanced ceramics, are meticulously manufactured to provide specific properties, and are experiencing an ever-expanding responsibility in technology and industry.
Properties and Applications of Advanced Ceramics
One of the most valued ceramic characteristics is the resistance of extreme temperatures. Even though the majority of ceramics demonstrate impressive heat tolerance, advanced ceramics, including Al2O3 and SSiC, shine in this area, with maximum working temperatures of 1,500 °C and 1,600 °C, respectively.
These materials are perfectly suited for components in turbines, energy technology and other high-temperature applications.5,6 In addition to withstanding high absolute temperatures, resilience against thermal shock is another important property.
Fast heating or cooling leads to uneven material expansion or contraction, which is understood to generate cracks among some materials.
Vulnerability to thermal shock failure can be characterized by the thermal shock coefficient, R, which defines the critical temperature difference that will provoke a material to fail in this manner.4
Aluminum titanate, Al2TiO5, is a ceramic with remarkable thermal shock resistance, possessing an R value of up to 2,000 [K]. Despite a proportionately low strength, the imposing thermal shock resistance of aluminum titanate, paired with its impressive chemical tolerance, makes it an exceedingly valuable material for implementation in foundry technology and smelting.
Ceramics are famously durable: their strength, hardness and tribological characteristics render them extremely appropriate in high-wear applications where abrasion is a concern for metal or plastic components. SSiC, SiSiC, Si3N4, ZrO2 and Al2O3 all demonstrate exceptionally high hardness, and can be utilized in the manufacture of extremely resilient machinery, including mills and pump rotors.5
Ceramic components also provide unequalled suitability with food and chemical products. This is partially due to the fact that resistance to abrasion prevents chemicals and foodstuffs from becoming contaminated. The chemical inertness of these ceramics is another crucial characteristic, making sure that no components dissolve or react with any processed chemicals.
Lastly, the low surface-adhesion shown by numerous ceramics guarantees the accurate control of fluid flow. All of these elements characterize ceramics as the ideal material for fluid processing parts such as nozzles, pumps and extruders.
High Quality Technical Ceramic Parts to Meet Customer Needs
H.C. Starck High Performance Ceramic Components provides high specification ceramics to a broad selection of global producers. Through heavy investment in research and development of advanced ceramic materials, H.C. Starck High Performance Ceramic Components works alongside customers and partners to tailor bespoke solutions for a wide range of industries, encompassing oil & gas, chemical, aviation, semiconductor, foundry, machine engineering and metrology.6
H.C. Starck High Performance Ceramic Components is empowered to enact virtually all elements of the supply chain in-house, to offer high quality technical ceramic parts, in accordance with customer design.
To conclude, there is more to advanced ceramics than just their mechanical and chemical characteristics. Ceramics are also valued in terms of their electrical and thermal conductivity functions, which permit them to operate as modifiers of thermal properties or electrical components in their own right.
The full potential of ceramics in technological and industrial contexts is still being discovered, with new uses constantly being conceived. Wherever extreme material properties are necessitated, advanced ceramics provide a solution.
References and Further Reading
- DeGarmo’s materials and processes in manufacturing. Black, J. & Kosher, R.
- The effects of Al2O3-TiO2 coating in a diesel engine on performance and emission of corn oil methyl ester. Hazar, H. & Ozturk, U. Renew. Energy 35, 2211–2216 (2010).
- Non-oxide Ceramics – Silicon Carbide (SiSiC/SSiC). Available at: https://www.ceramtec.com/ceramic-materials/silicon-carbide/. (Accessed: 22nd July 2018)
- Thermal Shock Study on Different Advanced Ceramics by Laser Irradiation in Different Media. Pulz, R., Rehmer, B., Schneider, G. A. & Skrotzki, B. Adv. Eng. Mater. 18, 132–140 (2016).
- Technology Metals | Advanced Ceramics Ceramic Parts According to Customer Demands. Starck, H. C.
- Advanced Ceramic Products - H.C. Starck. Available at: https://www.hcstarck.com/en/products/advanced_ceramics.html. (Accessed: 22nd July 2018)
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by H.C. Starck Ceramics GmbH.
For more information on this source, please visit H.C. Starck Ceramics GmbH.