Silicon Carbide Properties

Silicon carbide (SiC) is an extremely hard and durable chemical compound composed of silicon and carbon that forms naturally as the rare mineral moissanite but is also manufactured on an industrial scale as powder and crystals to be used as an abrasive.

Carbide can also be sintered into solid form to form durable ceramics, such as the abrasive grains used in automotive brakes and clutches or bulletproof vests.


Silicon carbide (SiC), a covalent compound, is one of the hardest synthetic materials. Due to its hardness, SiC is ideal as an abrasive material in blasting, grinding, cutting and machining applications; additionally it forms the main ingredient of long-lasting ceramic components like automotive brakes and clutches.

SiC can be tailored to serve as an n-type semiconductor by doping with nitrogen, phosphorus and beryllium; alternatively it may also be employed as a refractory material and electrical insulator.

Washington Mills offers CARBOREX silicon carbide in various chemistries and sizes to serve a range of applications, such as abrasive blasting, coated abrasives, cutting wheels, ceramics lapping insulation metallurgy refractories. Elkem Processing Services (EPS), our dedicated subsidiary that mixes, classifies and packs SiC to meet specific customer requirements is located in Liege Belgium with state-of-the-art facilities. Reach out to us immediately in order to locate the ideal SiC product for your application. Study of the Influence of Porosity on Indentation Resistance was undertaken for four ceramics containing different concentrations of free silicon carbide in order to gain greater insight into its molecular structure and physical properties.

Corrosion Resistance

Silicon carbide is one of the world’s premier industrial ceramic materials, used extensively in abrasive manufacturing and structural wear applications. From lapidary tools to LEDs and detectors, silicon carbide has proven its worth across numerous fields of use. Produced through an electro-chemical reaction between silica and carbon at high temperatures, this versatile substance can also be found naturally within meteorites and corundum deposits; however most silicon carbide sold and used commercially is synthetically produced.

Pressureless sintered silicon carbide is highly corrosion resistant when exposed to strong acids (hydrochloric, sulphuric, hydrofluoric and nitric acids), bases (concentrated sodium hydroxides) or alkalis; however, its resistance will erode over time depending on factors like chemical species present in its attacking environment, impurities present within silicon carbide sintering aids as well as changes in surface morphology or porosity.

Electrical Conductivity

Silicon carbide is one of the hardest materials ever known to man, second only in hardness only to diamond and boron carbide. Other notable properties of silicon carbide include its high thermal conductivity, low coefficient of thermal expansion and exceptional wear resistance properties.

Chemical compound SiC is manufactured through careful heating of silica sand with carbon sources in an Acheson furnace, producing either a-SiC or b-SiC depending on raw material quality; with green or black grains correlating with purity levels while lower quality varieties such as b-SiC being commonly known as “metallurgical grade.”

Contrasting its silicon counterpart, which only conducts electricity when electrons travel through them, a-SiC’s bandgap is nearly three times wider, which allows it to tolerate higher voltages and temperatures than its silicon counterpart – making it an excellent material for high-power electronics like IGBTs and bipolar transistors. Furthermore, adding impurities could change its Seebeck coefficient from n-type to p-type, creating even greater potential applications of this unique material in high power applications such as IGBTs and bipolar transistors!

Thermal Conductivity

SiC is an alternative semiconductor material, with wider bandgap than silicon that allows it to withstand higher temperatures, voltages and frequencies due to less energy being required to move electrons between its valence and conduction bands.

Ceramics are insensitive to erosion and corrosion, and can withstand exposure to an array of chemicals including phosphoric, sulphuric and nitric acids as well as high temperatures. Due to its low thermal expansion rate, ceramic sand filters used for oil drilling and gas production often use ceramic as their material of choice.

SiC’s hardness, rigidity and thermal conductivity make it an excellent material choice for mirrors used on astronomical telescopes. Produced through chemical vapor deposition technology, SiC is used on Herschel Space Telescope and Gaia space observatory – as well as wear-resistant parts in car brakes and clutches, as well as wear abrasives; its resistant to friction and impact makes it popularly found bulletproof vests.

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