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06 May 2015

Silicon Carbide

Silicon Carbide (SIC) occurs naturally as a mineral moissonite (found in Meteorites) but has been fused as a combination of Silica and Carbon since 1893 and used as the abrasive ‘Carborundum.’ SIC is chemically inert at any temperature band in current normal use and only changes mineral form at temperatures in excess of 2200°C.

SIC has to date been used widely in the automotive industry for car brakes, clutches and in bullet proof vests as well as the ceramic plates for electrical semi conductors where its high conductivity characteristics and high electric field breakdown strengths make it a useable and reliable mineral combination for such high temperature and high voltage applications.

SIC has a very low coefficient of thermal expansion (4.0 x 10-6/K) resulting in no external or internal impact to other materials used in conjunction with it.

SIC has been to date used as heat reflective plates within the combustion chamber of incinerators, to reflect heat back to the combustion process and thereby dramatically increase combustion efficiently which is of course ideal for waste incineration.

Other applications for SIC

  • LEDS – originally LED lights were made using SIC but most latterly as a heat spreader in commercial LED applications.
  • Heating Elements – SIC withstands higher operating temperatures than metal.
  • Nuclear – fuel particles in high temperature gas cooled reactors are given structural support using a thin layer of SIC.
  • Steel production – due to the higher temperatures SIC can reflect back steel production in enhanced by the mix of SC in the furnace operation.
  • Gas Turbines – Due to its high temperature characteristics SIC has been used in turbine blades and vanes within Gas Turbines. Its low coefficient of expansion and high operating temperatures made its use ideal.

As is clear to see, the high temperature resistance of SIC; its lack of deformity at temperature and its conductivity make it a valuable material for heat transmitting purposes.