If you are not aware of boron carbide then you should know that it is one of the hardest ceramics that exists. Rank of boron carbon comes after cubic boron nitride and diamond. Thus, it is often referred to as the “black diamond” for its hard composition.
Its Discovery and Consequent Production
In 1899, Henry Moissan was the first person to synthesize the substance. Generally, the material is produced by reacting Boron Trioxide (B2O3) to Carbon (C), in the process of oxidation- reduction. In this process boron trioxide undergoes reduction. The reaction is carried out in an Electric Arc Furnace. It is found that reacting Magnesium (Mg) in place of Carbon (C) in a Graphite furnace also produces the same reaction. The chemical formula for the compound is B4C.
Properties of the Compound
Aluminum Nitride Boron Nitride ALBN Ceramic has several properties that help in distinguishing it from one another. The first pint is its appearance. It is a black colored, powdery substance. It does not have any odor. The substance is known to be insoluble in water.
Talking about the molar mass, it is 55.255 g/mol having a specific gravity of 2.52. We have already discussed its hardness and to be specific, the material is somewhere in between 9 and 10 on the Mohs scale.
The melting point is 2763 °C (5005 °F) and the boiling point is somewhere around 3500 °C (3500 °C). This substance has a density of 2.52 g/cm3.
Another interesting thing about the material is the structure of the material which is rhombohedral crystalline in nature. This is quite typical to the icosahedron-based borides. Because of such a structure, it can accommodate several Carbon Compositions that is up to B10C, without causing any change to its own structure.
Application of the Material
The material has several uses. They are widely used in the nuclear reactors and for coating. The material is used in the form of pellets.
In the industries, these are used as abrasive Grit Blasting Nozzles. They are thus good for hard surfaces. It is also used in the Water Jet Cutters, Metal Matrix Composites. As they are resistant to water they are used in the wear and tear resistant coatings. In the solid fuel Ramjets, they are used as high energy fuels. It also works as a neutron absorber.