Silicon nitride is a chemical compound used as part of technical material. It occurs in three modifications (α-Si 3 N 4, β-Si 3 N 4 and γ-Si 3 N 4), which differ in their crystal structure. The use of silicon nitride comes important here. Let us have a closer look at the substance and how it actually works and for what.
The use of Silicon Nitride
Technical silicon nitride is a non-oxide ceramic, which usually consists of β-silicon nitride crystals in a glassy solidified matrix. The glass phase content reduces the hardness of Si 3 N 4 compared to silicon carbide but allows the stalky recrystallization of the β-silicon nitride crystals during the sintering process, which causes a significantly increased fracture toughness compared to silicon carbide and boron carbide.
The high fracture toughness combined with small defect sizes gives silicon nitride the highest strength among engineering ceramic materials. Due to the combination of high strength, low coefficient of thermal expansion and relatively small modulus of elasticity Si 3 N 4 ceramic is particularly suitable for thermo-shock stressed components, and is used for example as an insert for Fe-cast materials or for the handling of aluminum melts.
Silicon nitride ceramics are suitable for use temperatures up to about 1300 ° C with a suitable choice of a refractory glass phase. Despite the high R & D efforts in recent decades, silicon nitride has so far not been able to assert itself as a material in motors. Silicon nitride is also a special material in the storage technology for hybrid bearings (rolling elements made of Si 3 N 4 ) and all-ceramic bearings (rolling elements and races made of Si3 N 4 ) used.
In addition, there are numerous special solutions based on silicon nitride. Thus, for example, the measuring tips (cantilevers), which are used in atomic force microscopes to resolve samples down to the atomic level, are made of silicon wafers and made particularly resistant to mechanical wear on their surface by a silicon nitride layer. Silicon nitride is also used as insulation material in chip production.
- Direct nitridation: 3 Si + 2 N 2 \ Rightarrow Si 3 N 4
- Carbothermal nitridation: 3 SiO 2 + 6 C + 2 N 2 \ Rightarrow Si 3 N 4 + 6 CO
- Diimide synthesis: SiCl 4 + 6 NH 3 \ Rightarrow Si (NH) 2 + 4 NH 4 Cl; 3 Si (NH) 2 \ Rightarrow Si 3 N 4 + 2 NH 3
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