What Is Silicon Carbide?

Silicon carbide is an inert chemical compound with high melting and boiling points, that can be made into non-reactive ceramic plates used in bulletproof vests. As it’s also a semiconductor material, silicon carbide makes an excellent material choice.

Due to its exceptional electrical properties, silicon has the potential to extend electric vehicle driving range by improving energy conservation while decreasing size and weight of power electronic systems.


Silicon carbide (SiC) is an inert and chemically stable compound composed of carbon (C) and silicon (Si). Occurring naturally as the gem moissanite, mass production in powder form has taken place since 1893 for use as an abrasive and as part of bulletproof vest ceramic plates.

SiC is the third hardest material on Earth with a Mohs hardness of 13, making it highly resistant to deformation due to compression. Only diamond (Mohs hardness of 15) and boron carbide (Mohs hardness of 14) outshone SiC’s resilience against compression deformation.

Granulated SiC is relatively brittle but can still be fractured using a diamond saw, while its high temperature resistance and chemical insensitivity make it unaffected by concentrated hydrofluoric acid, nitric acid or sulfuric acid solutions; it does, however, dissolve in dilute alkali solutions.

Reaction-sintered silicon carbide (RSSC) is an advanced ceramic that has become the go-to material for armour applications in recent years, due to its lower production costs compared with direct-sintered silicon carbide (DSSC) and zero porosity properties. RSSC boasts densities of over 3.04 g cm-3 for jacketed/lead core projectiles and 3.08 g cm-3 for armour-piercing projectiles for comparable ballistic performance with comparable ballistic performance between RSSC and DSSC.

Silicon carbide abrasives, such as x4 silicon carbide, are highly efficient abrasives that make x4 silicon carbide the go-to choice for grinding, deburring, blending and finishing of nonferrous metals, stainless steel and composites. Ideal for high pressure grinding applications in metal fabrication and aerospace manufacturing environments with its 120 to 150 grit size making it suitable for heavy duty use in harsh conditions.

Thermal Conductivity

Silicon carbide (SiC) is an extremely hard chemical compound and semiconductor. Found naturally as the gemstone moissanite, SiC has been mass produced since 1893 as powder and crystal for use as an abrasive or in applications requiring high endurance – automotive brakes, clutches and bulletproof vests often incorporate SiC into their designs because of its ability to withstand extremely high temperatures.

SiC is an ideal material for power electronics applications due to its high electrical conductivity, large band gap and excellent thermal properties. It can withstand the high temperatures and currents found in devices like inverters without suffering losses in voltage or current efficiency; furthermore it helps reduce weight while simultaneously decreasing size and size of these devices.

SiC stands out among semiconductors with its superior thermal properties and low coefficient of expansion, making it more stable than others. This allows SiC to withstand higher temperatures and longer exposure to ultraviolet radiation without degrading or becoming damaged over time.

SiC is an excellent material to use in power electronic applications, particularly inverters, due to its excellent thermal conductivity, as it can manage higher currents at lower temperatures while also offering reduced energy losses that help boost device efficiency and lifespan.

SiC offers many advantages over its counterparts when it comes to corrosion resistance, with high melting point and boiling point values which reduce oxidation risk and make for great thermal insulators properties preventing heat transfer between internal components of devices.

SiC is an ideal material for use in gyroscopes due to its wide operating temperature range and resistance to vibrations, not to mention a significantly higher quality factor compared to other semiconductor materials.

Cubic SiC is produced either through carbon-based synthesis or chemical vapor deposition methods, both involving the use of gases combined in an atmosphere-free chamber before being released on to a wafer surface for depositing.

Resistance to Thermal Shock

Thermal shock resistance refers to the ability of materials to withstand sudden temperature shifts without incurring internal cracking, making them essential in applications involving semiconductor manufacturing and high-tech equipment. Silicon carbide (SiC) offers excellent thermal shock resistance properties and should be considered when exposed to high rates of temperature fluctuation.

SiC can be found in numerous industrial products, from gas turbines and bulletproof vest ceramic plates to electric vehicle power electronics where its application helps reduce voltage and current losses while improving thermal efficiency – thus helping increase driving distance while simultaneously decreasing size and weight of power electronics components.

Researchers conducted an experiment that assessed the thermal shock resistance of x4 SiC made with silicon nitride. This material has higher strength and thermal conductivity compared to pure silicon carbide, making it suitable for high-performance electronic devices; however, its lower melting point means it is not as resistant to thermal shock. Researchers discovered that adding silicon nitride significantly increased thermal shock resistance of this variant of SiC by almost 200 percent; making it a versatile yet cost-effective material suitable for demanding applications.

Thermal shock resistance of x4 SiC may have increased due to its porous converted graphite matrix which contains relatively small silicon pockets which are evenly distributed, as opposed to conventional siliconized SiC material which typically features coarser particles with many more large pockets.

This new invention features enhanced thermal shock resistance from x4 SiC with silicon nitride, making it particularly applicable in RTP environments characterized by rapid temperature variations that require extremely durable materials to avoid internal cracking. Researchers found that it had excellent 500deg C. thermal shock resistance – an essential feature for many RTP environments.

Electrical Conductivity

Silicon carbide is an electronic material, known for its exceptional properties which make it highly sought-after by electronics industries worldwide. Some notable attributes of its incredible properties are hardness, resistance to corrosion and thermal conductivity – qualities which position silicon carbide for use in high-demand industrial applications.

SiC in its pure state acts as an electrical insulator; when introduced with impurities it becomes semi-conductive. Thanks to its wide bandgap (the energy difference between valence and conduction bands of atoms within a material), SiC is ideal for high voltage applications where other insulators might prove unsuitable due to prohibitively energy requirements for electrons to cross from one band into the next one.

This wide bandgap allows it to reduce voltage losses, improve efficiency and increase power handling capacity in an increasingly compact package – making it perfect for critical electronic applications. Furthermore, its low energy loss means it can tolerate higher temperatures without needing active cooling systems that add weight, cost and complexity to equipment.

SiC is ideal for use in environments exposed to extreme moisture and heat, such as automotive braking systems. Due to its excellent oxidation resistance, SiC makes an excellent material choice for cutting tools due to its ability to grind metals such as steel and aluminium with minimal degradation or wear – one reason being its Mohs hardness rating of 9; just one step below diamond!

SiC’s high-voltage properties make it suitable for use in key power electronic components of electric vehicles, with lower power losses than silicon, reduced component sizes, and improved overall system performance. This helps EVs achieve longer range with reduced charging time and costs as well as less dependence on external active cooling systems that add weight, cost, and space constraints.

Silicon carbide’s versatile properties have made it an integral component of many industries, with the potential to drive advancements in power handling and efficiency well into 2024 and beyond. Due to its durability, hardness, conductivity, and reliability benefits it is being increasingly employed in critical industrial applications – with an eye towards increasing feasibility and reliability.

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