In the energy sector, there are many new technologies for energy production and storage that require new materials to withstand the high temperatures and corrosive environments. Ceramics are key materials for the fabrication of a variety of products that are used for energy conversion, storage, transfer and distribution of energy. Strength, wear, temperature and corrosion resistance, transparency, inertness, and insulating, conducting or superconducting characteristics are the most important properties that make ceramics suitable and even enabling for these applications1.
In energy conversion, ceramics are found in solar cells and solar collectors that transform solar energy to electricity. In fuel cells and batteries that change chemical to electrical energy, the corrosive nature and high temperatures require ceramics to operate2. In thermoelectric generators that convert heat to power and in gas turbines that produce mechanical energy from chemical energy, the strength and toughness that ceramics provide allow these systems to operate at peak efficiency.
Silicon nitride is an enabling material for these applications due to its excellent thermal shock resistance, strength, toughness and chemical inertness.
1. Thomas Pfeifer, Josef Matyáš, Palani Balaya, Dileep Singh, John Wei, Mrityunjay Singh, Tatsuki Ohji, Alexander Michaelis, Ceramics for Energy Conversion, Storage, and Distribution Systems, Wiley, ISBN: 978-1-119-23448-7 August 2016 300 Pages
2. Olivier Guillon, Advanced Ceramics for Energy Conversion and Storage, Elsevier, ISBN 978-0-08-102726-4, 2020, 746 pages.