What is boron carbide ceramic?
Boron carbide ceramics have a hexagonal diamond lattice, and the unit cell has 12 B atoms and 3 C atoms. Boron carbide ceramics are characterized by being very hard, they have good thermal stability, can absorb thermal neutrons, but have poor impact resistance and high brittleness.
Boron carbide ceramics can be molded in various ways. In order to obtain dense B4C, hot press sintering is generally used to prepare it. The hot-pressed sintered B4C can reach 98% of the theoretical density. It is prepared in a vacuum hot-pressing furnace or an ordinary hot-pressing furnace. The hot-pressing temperature is 2100℃, the pressure is 80~100MPa, and the temperature is kept for several minutes. The pressure needs to be maintained during cooling. . Due to the poor thermal shock resistance of B4C, the temperature should be lowered slowly. The hot pressing temperature should not be too high. B4C-C eutectic liquid phase will appear at 2150℃, but if the temperature is too low, the product density will be low. Using B4C ultrafine powder raw materials, boron carbide ceramic products with high density and hardness can be obtained.
Properties and uses of boron carbide ceramics
A distinctive feature of boron carbide ceramics is that it is very hard. Its microhardness is about 50000MPa (50GPa), second only to diamond (90~100GPa) and CBN (80~90GPa), and its grinding efficiency can reach 60% of diamond ~ 70%, which is 1 time of SiC and 1 to 2 times of the grinding ability of corundum. It has good acid and alkali resistance and low thermal expansion coefficient (4.5x 10-6℃), so it has good thermal stability and performance. It absorbs thermal neutrons, but has poor impact resistance and high brittleness.
Boron carbide can resist air corrosion at 1000°C, but it is easily oxidized in an oxidizing atmosphere at higher temperatures. Boron carbide has high resistance to acid and alkali, and it is not wetted by most molten metals, and has a very high stability when it comes in contact with these substances.
Boron carbide powder can be directly used for grinding gems, bearings, etc. Utilizing the high hardness of boron carbide ceramics, it can be used as abrasives, cutting tools, nozzles for wear-resistant parts, bearings, axles, etc. With its good thermal conductivity, low thermal expansion coefficient, and ability to absorb thermal neutrons, it can be used to manufacture high-temperature heat exchangers and control agents for nuclear reactors. With its good acid and alkali resistance, it can be used to make chemical vessels, molten metal crucibles, etc.
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