Silicon carbide (SiC), also known as carborundum or SiC, is a semiconductor containing silicon and carbon. Since the late 19th century silicon carbide has been an important material for sandpapers, grinding wheels, and cutting tools. More recently, it has found application in refractory linings and heating elements for industrial furnaces, in wear-resistant parts for pumps and rocket engines, and in semiconducting substrates for light-emitting diodes.
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Until the invention of boron carbide in 1929, silicon carbide was the hardest synthetic material known. It has a Mohs hardness rating of 9, approaching that of diamond. In addition to hardness, silicon carbide crystals have fracture characteristics that make them extremely useful in grinding wheels and in abrasive paper and cloth products. Its high thermal conductivity, together with its high-temperature strength, low thermal expansion, and resistance to chemical reaction, makes silicon carbide valuable in the manufacture of high-temperature bricks and other refractories. It is also classed as a semiconductor, having an electrical conductivity between that of metals and insulating materials. This property, in combination with its thermal properties, makes SiC a promising substitute for traditional semiconductors such as silicon in high-temperature applications.
– Abrasive and cutting tools
– Structural material
– Automobile parts
– Electronic circuit elements
– Thin filament pyrometry
– Catalyst support