The automotive sector is one of the most important uses of sintered silicone nitride. For example, there are electric plugs in diesel engines that provide faster start-up, precombustion chambers that produce less emissions, lower start-up, and more noise and turbochargers that reduce engine lag. For spark ignition engines silicon nitride helps reduce wear rocker pads and turbocharger turbines reduce engine lag. Exhaust control valves increase acceleration.
An all-ceramic silicon nitride bearing does not just have ceramic components, it also has a ceramic hybrid bearing. For example, the ceramic ball and steel seat rings are made of silicone nitride. The silicon nitride clays offer superior shock resistance to other ceramics. Ball bearings constructed from silicon nitride ceramics have high-performance bearings. NASA’s main engine uses silicon-nitride bearings. Because silicon nitride balls bearings are more durable than metal, they have less contact with bearing tracks. This is a better alternative to traditional metal bearings. They can lower friction by as much as 80% and extend their service lives by 3-10 times. Silicium nitride is 79% lighter that tungsten caride balls. Silicon nitride bearings are used in automotive bearings of high quality, as well industrial bearings. They can also be used for racing, cycling, skateboarding, and roller skating. These bearings can be used in areas where metals cannot be used due to corrosion.
Since long, silicon nitride is used in high-temperature applications. Particularly, silicon nitride has been found to be one of the few integral ceramic material that is capable of withstanding severe thermal shocks as well as thermal gradients created by hydrogen / oxygen rocket engines. NASA scientists employed advanced rapid prototyping technology in order to produce one-inch combustion chamber / nozzle (thruster), assemblies. Five cycles were run on the thruster with hydrogen/oxygen propellant. The last cycle was a five-minute one at 1320°C.
There are many orthopedic applications for silicon nitride. It can be substituted for PEEK and titanium in spinal fusion devices. The materials’ strength, durability, reliability, and resistance are significantly higher than those of PEEK (polyether ketone) and titanium. Some components of the material are antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral.
Tools for metal cutting and welding.
It is the preferred material for cutting tools because of its hardness, thermal stability, wear resistance and durability. It is particularly recommended to high-speed cast iron machining. Sintered silicon Nitride can be used to machine cast iron, nickel-based alloys, and hard steel at 25 times the speed of conventional materials, such as tungsten caride. Manufacturing output can be greatly affected by the quality of cutting tools. The face milling process of gray cast steel with silicon nitride blades, in comparison to traditional tungsten-carbide tools, doubles cutting speed and increases tool life by up to six blades per piece. This reduces the overall cost of the blades by 50%.
Silicon nitride has been used to conduct electricity and as a chemical barrier in integrated circuit fabrication. Silicon nitride is an excellent passivation material for microchips. It has a much better diffusion barrier than silicon dioxide to both water molecules and sodiumions, which are two of the most common sources of instability and corrosion in microelectronics. It can be used in an analog chip capacitor as a dielectric to separate polysilicon layer.
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