Silicon Carbide (SiC)

Silicon Carbide
Empirical Formula: SiC
Molecular Weight: 40.1 g/mol
Density: 3–3.2 g/cm3
Melting Point: 2730°C (4950°F, 3000°K)
Decomposes into quartz and CO2 using environmental oxygen
Crystal Structures: Most commonly hexagonal
Thermal Conductivity: 120  W / (mK)

Basic Facts

  • Made from equal parts Silicon and Carbon. Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth's crust and 4th most abundant in the Universe. Silicon is the 2nd most abundant element in the crust and 8th most abundant in the Universe.
  • Silicon Carbide was first discovered in 1891 by E. G. Echeson.
  • Silicon Carbide is formed very rarely on Earth. It is commonly found in meteorites such as the Murchison meteorite, carbonaceous chondrites, star dust, and dying stars.
  • Has excellent chemical resistance. Less reactive to acids and bases than Quartz, even at elevated temperatures.
  • Low thermal expansion
  • Very high thermal conduction and transmission — 20x that of Grade 2 Titanium, 100x that of Quartz
  • Low coefficient of friction
  • Known for its good thermal shock resistance, able to handle a temperature change of 700°F.
  • One of the hardest materials known to man, scoring up to 9.5 on the Mohs hardness scale (diamond has the maximum score of 10).
  • Has been used in thermal armor on spacecraft, for processing liquid metals, high temperature furnace parts, and jet turbines
  • Commonly used in high endurance applications such as bulletproof armor, high performance brake pads, abrasives in sandpaper or cutting tools.
  • Currently being widely investigated for use in sensors, devices, and implants in the medical and medical device industry.
  • Able to block some forms of nuclear radiation