25 Mar 2010

High Performance Ceramics

From Our Changing World, 9:20 pm on 25 March 2010

At Industrial Research Limited a large nitrogen furnace is being used to make high performance ceramics, otherwise known as engineering ceramics.

Because of they're extreme durability and toughness, high performance ceramics are used inside things like mixer taps in kitchens, in rotors sitting in the exhausts of expensive cars, and potentially even in body armour.

Bill Owers and Ian Brown with some sialon materials

(image: IRL)

In particular, Ian Brown (right) and Bill Owers (left) are making materials called sialon, created from the elements silicon (Si), aluminium (Al), oxygen (O) and nitrogen (N). These ceramics are used in applications in the aluminium industry because of their ability to withstand the heat of molten metals.

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