Silicon Carbide Uses

Silicon carbide (SiC) is a non-oxide ceramic with numerous desirable properties that make it suitable for various uses, from abrasives and wear-resistant parts for its hardness, refractories for heat and shock resistance, electronics devices meeting high voltage demands and more.

Washington Mills manufactures precision graded SiC grain for wire sawing silicon metal ingots into wafers for use in photovoltaic and semiconductor applications, helping reduce sawing kerf losses while increasing surface quality.


Silicon Carbide (SiC) is an extremely hard and durable non-oxide ceramic material and one of the world’s hardest known substances, making it highly desirable in industrial and manufacturing settings. SiC’s properties make it perfect for cutting, grinding, polishing and other abrasive uses; components in refractory brick and furnace linings; wear-resistant parts for pumps and rocket engines as well as semiconductor substrate applications.

Silicon carbide’s chemical composition consists of equal portions of carbon and silicon, making it extremely hard and durable. Due to its atomic structure, silicon carbide comes in different forms or polytypes with individual characteristics that can be utilized for specific applications. Alpha silicon carbide (a-SiC) with hexagonal crystal structure similar to Wurtzite is most often encountered while beta modification (b-SiC), with zinc blende crystal structure is less prevalent.

Silicon carbide has numerous applications in electronic devices. Its primary use is as an alternative to traditional silicon semiconductors in electronic circuits due to its higher operating temperature than regular silicon, making it especially well suited for circuits operating under extreme temperatures or conditions. Furthermore, its voltage resistance is ten times greater than conventional silicon; and gallium nitride outperforms it in systems that demand greater current flow or lower power losses (Mantooth, Zetterling & Rusu). Furthermore, naturally occurring forms of the compound exist as moissanite gemstones!

Heat Resistant

Silicon carbide is a hard, durable material comparable to materials such as diamond and boron carbide, offering combined ceramic and semiconductor properties ideal for fast high-voltage devices. Furthermore, silicon carbide’s abrasive qualities make it popular in several machining processes such as grinding, honing and water jet cutting as well as modern lapidary work.

Silicon carbide, when pure, is a dark brown to black solid. When impurities such as aluminium and nitrogen are added as impurities, crystals change colors from green or blue depending on how much doping was applied; depending on this level of doping silicon carbide may act as an electrical insulator or conductor depending on dopant levels; silicon carbide may also be doped with other elements to create devices such as bipolar transistors and Schottky barrier diodes.

This material is highly durable and resistant to corrosion. It remains non-reactive when exposed to acids (hydrochloric, sulphuric or hydrofluoric), bases (concentrated sodium hydroxides), or high heat applications. Furthermore, its thermal expansion coefficient makes it suitable for high heat applications.

Carborundum material’s abrasive quality has also made it a highly-preferred printmaking medium, often known as “carborundum.” To use this method of printmaking, carborundum grit is applied directly onto an aluminum plate for intaglio printing; recently however, this technique has also been employed as a substrate for etching processes.

Chemically Inert

Edward Acheson made history when he discovered silicon carbide by heating carbon with electric power in 1891 in order to make artificial diamonds. Heating carbon produced a variety of shiny hexagonal crystals which scratch glass, and Acheson named this material carborundum. Since then, silicon carbide or SiC has become manufactured industrially and used primarily in abrasives as well as steel additives and structural ceramic applications.

SiC is an integral component in electronic applications requiring fast high temperature and voltage devices, offering various electrical characteristics when doped with nitrogen and phosphorus, or beryllium, boron, aluminum or gallium dopants. SiC’s versatility also lends it an ideal position as an electronic base material.

Silicon Carbide mirrors are widely valued due to their hardness and rigidity, making it ideal for use in astronomical telescopes. When compared with glass mirrors, silicon carbide has lower thermal expansion – meaning your mirror stays rigid even after extended exposure to high temperatures. Both Herschel and Gaia space telescopes utilize silicon Carbide mirrors.

Elkem operates an advanced facility in Liege, Belgium where we produce silicon carbide to meet customer requirements. Our expert and R&D personnel collaborate to mix, classify and pack granules according to customer needs – offering accurate mixes of raw materials with premium-quality silicon carbide products available worldwide.


Silicon carbide, or SiC, is an extremely hard and durable material used in bulletproof vests and car brakes, among other applications. As nature’s hardest mineral it serves as the core ingredient in ceramic plates for bulletproof vests and brake pads; furthermore it boasts unique properties which make it suitable for high performance engineering applications such as pump bearings and valves, grinding wheels/cutting tools abrasives/cutting tools/sandblasting injectors and extrusion dies.

Electrons moving through semiconductor materials, like silicon, can stimulate it with electric current, electromagnetic fields or light to cause electrical conductivity that can amplify, switch or convert signals in electronic circuits. This enables electronic device such as diodes and transistors capable of withstanding higher temperatures and voltages without compromising performance or reliability to be built using silicon as their substrate material.

Silicon Carbide (SiC) acts as an electrical insulator when left alone; however, doping with various impurities can alter this property to give rise to semi-conductivity. N-type SiC may be doped with nitrogen or phosphorus while p-type can be doped with boron, aluminium or gallium to produce desired conductivity properties.

Elkem’s Granular SiC is prepared according to customer specifications at ELC Processing Services (EPS) facility in Liege, Belgium. Our highly competent staff collaborate closely with customers in developing an optimal mixture that meets their application requirements – producing highly engineered yet cost-effective and dependable raw material delivered globally.

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