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What are the Uses of Silicon Carbide?

Silicon carbide, also called carborundum, is a compound made from silicon and carbon.  This chemical compound is found in a mineral called moissanite. The naturally occurring form of silicon carbide is named after a French pharmacist called Dr. Ferdinand Henri Moissan. Moissanite is usually found in very little quantities in meteorites, kimberlite, and corundum. Hence, most commercial silicon carbide is synthetic. Although it is difficult to find naturally occurring silicon carbide on earth, it is quite abundant in space.

Silicon carbide is one of the most useful chemical compounds in the world today. Its application cuts across a large number of industries.

Silicon Carbide Used in Military Bulletproof Armor

Silicon carbide is used to manufacture bulletproof armor. The property of this compound that makes it to be applied for such a purpose is its hardness. Bullets and other harmful objects will have to contend with the hard ceramic blocks that silicon carbide forms. Bullets can’t penetrate the ceramic blocks.

Silicon Carbide Used in Military Bulletproof Armor

Silicon Carbide Used in Military Bulletproof Armor

Silicon Carbide Used in Semiconductors

Silicon carbide becomes a semiconductor when dopants are added to it. Dopants like boron and aluminum added to silicon carbide make it become a p-type semiconductor. On the other hand, dopants such as nitrogen and phosphorus added to silicon carbide make it become an n-type semiconductor. You can read this post for more information about the differences between p-type semiconductors & n-type semiconductors.

Silicon Carbide Used in Abrasives

Silicon carbide is commonly used as an abrasive because of how hard it is. It is used in the manufacture of grinding wheels, cutting tools, and sandpaper. Silicon carbide abrasives are usually cheaper than other abrasives of similar quality. The abrasives are used to grind materials such as steel, aluminum, cast iron, and rubber.

Further Reading: An Introduction to Silicon Carbide Abrasives

Silicon Carbide Used in Electric Vehicles

Silicon carbide is a better choice for powering electric vehicles when compared to silicon. Silicon carbide-powered electric vehicles are highly efficient and cost-effective. Renowned companies like Tesla are using silicon carbide in the manufacture of their electric vehicles to improve efficiency and range.

Silicon Carbide Used in Jewelry

Silicon carbide is structurally similar to diamonds. This makes it an asset in the jewelry industry. It is even more lustrous, cheaper, more durable, and lighter than diamond. The properties of silicon carbide make it a worthy substitute for diamonds in the jewelry industry.

Silicon Carbide Used in Jewelry

Silicon Carbide Used in Jewelry

Silicon Carbide Used in Fuel

In addition to its other uses, silicon carbide is used as fuel. It is used as a fuel in steel manufacture and produces purer steel than most other fuels. It is also a cheaper and more environmentally-friendly fuel.

Silicon Carbide Used in LEDs

The first set of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to be produced made use of silicon carbide technology. It was used to manufacture blue, red, and yellow LEDs. LEDs are used in televisions, display boards, and computers.

Conclusion

Silicon carbide has certain unique properties that make it stand out for various industrial applications, such as jewelry making, the production of abrasives and semiconductors, and many others. Silicon carbide is one of the hardest known substances today, as it competes closely with substances like diamond and boron carbide. For complete information about silicon carbide ceramics, please refer to An Overview of Silicon Carbide Ceramic Materials.

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