Silicon nitride (Si3N4) was first prepared in 1857 and was little more than a chemical curiosity. However, as its benefits became known, the compound began to be used across multiple industries in the late 1940s. Today, it’s a key component in electronics, turbomachinery, bearings, and even orbital satellites.
What Makes it Different?
Silicon nitride is made by mixing highly refined raw powders that are formed into desired shapes. The final product is finished in precision kilns or furnaces. This is similar to the making of pottery; the word “ceramic” derives from the Greek root “kéramos,” which refers to pottery. Dense silicon nitride is a very hard, abrasion-resistant, and corrosion-resistant solid. Unlike familiar ceramics such as porcelain or glass, silicon nitride ceramic has very high strength, with the highest fracture resistance of any advanced ceramic42.