Industrial Applications

Tough and Strong

Silicon nitride (Si3N4) has made great strides in recent years beyond the biomedical industry. Both R&D and strong commercialization have led to the development of a number of industrial applications for silicon nitride-based materials with several manufacturing approaches1. The methods of fabrication have governed the resulting properties and applications of silicon nitride2, allowing for a great deal of flexibility and customization to create precisely the material needed for an application3,4,5.

Silicon nitride is found in bearings for the following5,6,7:

  • Gas and diesel engines
  • Wind turbines
  • Motorsports equipment: bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards
  • Computer disk drives
  • Machine tools
  • Dental hand-pieces and
  • Flap-actuators in aircraft 

Silicon nitride is used in automotive engine applications where its light weight and excellent corrosion and wear resistance leads to longer life and lower fuel costs.  

In advanced energy applications, silicon nitride offers excellent corrosion resistance to harsh chemicals and high temperatures.  Silicon nitride has approximately twice the fracture toughness of alumina-based ceramics used in metal cutting tools. Silicon nitride cutting tools enable the user to perform productive high speed machining where traditional ceramic grades could not perform, including milling cast iron, Inconel alloys, and interrupted cutting with scale. Wherever corrosion, rapid wear, and electric or magnetic fields limit the use of metals, silicon nitride is used instead8,9,10

Silicon nitride offers some unique properties.  Please contact SINTX Technologies to learn more about how silicon nitride can solve your problem or to discuss your specific application. 

References

1. https://www.ikts.fraunhofer.de/en/departments/structural_ceramics/nonoxide_ceramics/nc.html

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicon_nitrid

3. https://matmatch.com/learn/material/silicon-nitride

4. https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=4491

5. https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=53

6. Eichler, Jens, Industrial Applications of Si-based Ceramics, Journal of the Korean Ceramic Society, Vol. 49, 2012/11/30

7. L. Wang, R.W. Snidle, and L. Gu, “Rolling Contact Silicon Nitride Bearing Technology: A Review of Recent Research,” Wear, 246 159–173 (2000).

8. F.L. Riley, “Silicon Nitride and Related Materials,” J. Am. Ceram. Soc., 83 [2] 245–265 (2000).

9. B.S. Bal and M.N. Rahaman, “Orthopedic Applications of Silicon Nitride Ceramics,” Acta Biomater., 8 [8] 2889–2898 (2012).

10. R. Nathan Katz, “Overview of Ceramic Materials, Design, and Application;” in Mech. Eng. Handb. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2014.