Boron carbide (also known as black diamond) is the third hardest material after diamond and cubic boron nitride. It is a suitable material for many high performance applications due to its attractive combination of properties. Its outstanding hardness makes it a suitable abrasive powder for lapping, polishing and water jet cutting of metals and ceramics.
The combination of low specific weight, high hardness and reasonable toughness makes it a suitable material for body and vehicle armor. Boron carbide is also extensively used as control rods, shielding materials and as neutron detectors in nuclear reactors due to its ability to absorb neutrons without forming long lived radionuclide. As it is a p-type semiconductor, boron carbide can be a suitable candidate material for electronic devices that can be operated at high temperatures. Boron Carbide is also an excellent p-type thermoelectric material.
Boron Carbide Properties
High melting point
High elastic modulus
High neutron absorption cross-section
Excellent thermoelectric properties
Boron Carbide Applications
Sand blasting nozzles
Ball & roller bearings
Wire drawing dies
Boron Carbide Machining & Grinding
Boron Carbide can be machined in green, biscuit, or fully dense states. While in the green or biscuit form it can be machined relatively easily into complex geometries. However, the sintering process that is required to fully densify the material causes the Boron Carbide body to shrink approximately 20%.
This shrinkage means that it is impossible to hold very tight tolerances when machining Boron Carbide pre-sintering. In order to achieve very tight tolerances, fully sintered material must be machined/ground with diamond tools. In this process a very precise diamond coated tool/wheel is used to abrade away the material until the desired form is created. Due to the inherit hardness of the material, this can be a time consuming and costly process.
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JSK Industrial Supply is your Alumina machining specialist for your technical ceramic prototyping & manufacturing needs; we are always happy to use our many years of advanced ceramics experience to provide advice on materials, design, and application. If you would like to buy Alumina plates, rods, tubes or custom machined components, please contact us and one of our experts will be happy to assist you.