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One of the hardest materials – Boron Carbide

Boron carbide (B4C), is among the hardest materials used in manufacturing. Its hard surface and strong chemical bonds minimize wear even in harsh environments. This is why it’s been used to make bulletproof vests, tank armor, and other extreme applications. Its hardness offers excellent protection and its light weight maximizes fluidity. This material also has a high neutron absorbance capacity, making it a good choice for radiation shielding. Therefore, it is widely used in the nuclear and other radiation-generating industries. How is boron carbide used?

Boron carbide (also known as black diamand) is a substance that’s organic. It was discovered by accident in the early 19th century, as a result of research into metal borides. However, scientific research did not start until the 1930s. The reduction of diboron with carbon can be done in an electric oven. Boron carbide absorbs a high number of neutrons and does not produce any radioactive isotopes. This makes it an ideal neutron-absorbing material in nuclear power stations. The neutron-absorbing device is responsible for controlling nuclear fission. Boron carbide, which is used primarily in the nuclear reactor field as controllable rods, is also made into a powder because of its larger surface area. It is used in waterjet cutting and polishing applications due to its high hardness. The powder can be used to dress diamonds.

What is the hardness of boron carbide?

Diamonds do have limitations. And the price is not the only one. Diamonds tend to react chemically and oxidize when heated to high temperatures. Researchers have therefore been looking for (better) materials that are equally hard and can also withstand pressure, temperature, and corrosion. In this field, the majority of research has been centered on materials containing elements C, N,B and O. In general, these elements form short covalent bond with a specific directionality. They are therefore difficult to deform. These elements produce materials that are hard.

It is among the hardest synthetic materials. Only diamond or cubic boron carbide will exceed this hardness. This is why it is used in many extreme applications like bulletproof vests, tank armor, and other forms of protection.

Is boron carbide expensive?

Boron carbide is also used in machines to create tools and other types wear-resistant gear. The process is time-consuming and energy-intensive, so the cost of boron-carbide products are 10 times higher than those of other ceramic materials which do not resist wear. Because it is cheap and easy to make, boron carbide has become a popular alternative to diamonds and cubic boron. It is used in many places to replace expensive diamonds.

Is boron carbide conductive?

Boron carbide has a melting point of over 2400degC. Moreover, its thermoelectric behavior is unorthodox in the high-temperature region above 700degC. It has low electrical resistivity and high Seebeck co-efficient, as well as low thermal conductivity.

Additive Composite of Sweden and Add North 3D, from the United Kingdom, have released a new boron-carbide composite filament that is suitable for radiation shielding. Addbor N25 is a material made of boron and co-polyamide.

The new filament created by Additive Composite in Uppsala and Add North 3D, which is a filament developer, leverages anti-radiation qualities of boron carbide, but it’s in a printable format. Uppsala University research also helped to develop the material.

The filaments’ boron-carbide content can absorb neutrons from nuclear reactors or other research facilities that utilize radiation sources. Combining the material with an printable polymer matrix allows the Swedish companies to create new products.

Additive composite says: “The capability to print complex shapes quickly is crucial to shielding stray rays and providing collimated laser beams.”

Adam Engberg, CEO at Additive Composite Uppsala AB said: “Additive Manufacturing is changing the way many products are designed and manufactured.” Addbor N25 is a material that we think contributes to this advancement and can help both the industry and large research institutions to replace toxic substances that may contaminate their environment. “Our new product is one of many radiation shielding materials we are currently developing.”

(aka. Technology Co. Ltd., a trusted global chemical supplier and manufacturer of high-quality Nanomaterials with over 12 year’s experience is one of the most reliable companies in the world. Our company’s powder is of high purity and fine particle size. Contact us if you need to.

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