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Boron Carbide (B4C) Ceramics

Boron Carbide (B4C) is an extremely hard ceramic material with a Mohs hardness between 9 and 10. Boron carbide is one of the hardest synthetic substances known, being exceeded only by cubic boron nitride (CBN) and diamond. It is a covalent material used in tank armor, bulletproof vests, engine sabotage powders, as well as numerous industrial applications.

Read more: An Overview of Boron Carbide Ceramics

Besides, it has good chemical inertness and a high neutron absorption cross-section. It is a suitable material for many high-performance applications, such as anti-oxidant in carbon-bonded refractory mixes, reactor control rods and neutron-absorbing shielding in nuclear applications.

Read more: Boron Carbide: Key Properties & Applications

Boron Carbide Ceramics Properties

  • Low thermal conductivity
  • Susceptible to thermal shock failure
  • Outstanding hardness
  • Extremely brittle
  • Semiconductor
  • Good thermal-neutron capture




Boron Carbide Ceramics Structure

Boron Carbide Ceramics Specification




Chemical Formula






Hardness (Knoop)



Flexural Strength 4pt



Compressive Strength



Modulus of Elasticity



Poisson's Ratio



Fracture Toughness

Mpa x m1/2


Coefficient of Thermal Expansion

x10-6 mm/mmK


Termal Conductivity at 20 °C



Boron Carbide Ceramic Applications

Boron carbide ceramics are applied widely in industries such as wear-resistant materials, and abrasives. As an abrasive, it is used in powdered form in the lapping (fine abrading) of metal and ceramic products, though its low oxidation temperature of 400–500° C (750–930° F) makes it unable to withstand the heat of grinding hardened tool steels.

Because of its hardness, together with its very low density, it has found application as a reinforcing agent for aluminum in military armor and high-performance bicycles, and its wear resistance has caused it to be employed in sandblasting nozzles and pump seals. B4C bulletproof plates are plates made from Boron Carbide ceramic material that are designed to stop bullets and other projectiles. These plates are often used in body armor, such as vests or plate carriers, to protect the wearer from gunfire and other ballistic threats.

Read more: Application of Boron Carbide Ceramics in Body Armor

Its ability to absorb neutrons without forming long-lived radionuclides makes it attractive as an absorbent for neutron radiation arising in nuclear power plants and from anti-personnel neutron bombs. Nuclear applications of boron carbide include shielding, control rod, and shut down pellets. Within control rods, boron carbide is often powdered, to increase its surface area.

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Your Boron Carbide Ceramics Supplier

Advanced Ceramic Materials (ACM) is a leading supplier of boron carbide ceramic products of the highest quality for a wide range of applications. We are happy to provide advice on materials, design, and application. Feel free to contact us for any questions about B4C or other ceramic materials that are not listed on the website. 


Q: What Is Boron Carbide Ceramic?
A: Boron carbide is an important chemical compound with a complex crystal structure typical of icosahedron-based borides. The compound was discovered in the 19th century as a by-product of reactions involving metal borides. Its chemical formula was not known until the 1930s, when its chemical composition was estimated as B4C. X-ray crystallography of the substance shows that its structure is highly complex, with a mixture of C-B-C chains and B12 icosahedra. Q: What are its outstanding advantages?
Q: What Are the Outstanding Advantages of Boron Carbide?
A: The properties of boron carbide include its extreme hardness (9.5-9.75 on the Mohs hardness scale), stability to ionizing radiation, resistance to chemical reactions, and good shielding properties against neutrons. The Vickers hardness, elastic modulus, and fracture toughness of boron carbide are very close to the corresponding values for diamond.
Q: How To Manufacture Boron Carbide?
A: Boron carbide powder can be produced commercially using either fusion (which involves reducing boron anhydride (B2O3) with carbon, or by magnesiothermic reaction (boron anhydride is made to react with magnesium in the presence of carbon black. Another method for producing boron carbide is pressureless sintering at a very high temperature (2300–2400°C), which is close to the melting point of boron carbide.
Q: What Is Boron Carbide Usually Used For?
A: - Used as an abrasive and lapping agent - Used for ceramic blasting nozzles - Used as a ballistic protective material
Q: Where Can I Get High Quality B4C Ceramic?
A: Advanced Ceramic Materials (ACM) is a global ceramic supplier which has more than 20-year experience in this industry to meet our customers' R&D and production needs. You can reach our sale team via the inquiry page, or email [email protected].
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