Manufacture and form
Boron carbide is manufactured from the raw materials boron oxide and carbon in an arc furnace at temperatures above 2,400 °C. Concurrently, the following reaction takes place:
2 B₂O₃ + 7 C → B₄C + 6 CO
The resultant shiny black crystals are separated from unreacted material, ground and classified in further preparation steps. Depending on its further use, the material is ground until in the sub-micron range.
Boron carbide can be used as a powder with various grain sizes or as a ceramic component. To manufacture ceramic components with high relative density, fine boron carbide powder with sinter additives is moved, processed with conventional ceramic-shaping methods and sintered or hot press-molded at temperatures above 2,000 °C in an inert gas atmosphere.
Typical use for boron carbide powder and grains are:
- Grinding and polishing agents
- Additive in fireproof materials
- Sinter additive when manufacturing silicon carbide ceramics
- Additives for aluminum materials for nuclear systems
Typical uses for boron carbide components are:
- Nozzles for sandblasting systems
- Plates, pellets or hexagons for versatile ballistic protection applications in defense systems
- Pellets for control rods and other components for shielding neutron absorption in nuclear systems