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New Grades Target Tough Applications

New Grades Target Tough Applications

Design engineers can expect increasing opportunities to use ceramics for demanding applications as new high-performance grades emerge and high-level players develop processing capabilities.

CoorsTek opened a specialty materials center in Golden, CO that focuses on developing next-generation ceramic materials for applications in high-technology markets including semiconductor, electronics, laser, advanced armor, medical and several others. New processing, manufacturing, finishing and materials analysis equipment were added to enable ultra-high material purities, increased material characterization detail, faster material development cycles and expanded advanced processing capabilities.

"Our ultra-pure ceramic materials capability will support nearly all of our industries - especially the stringent demands of the semiconductor manufacturing market as they move beyond 45 nm devices," says Frank Anderson, director of technology for CoorsTek.

HIGH-PURITY ALUMINA

CoorsTek developed an ultra-high-purity ceramic material designed specifically for extreme-duty semiconductor applications. In addition to very high purity, PlasmaPure-UC alumina offers high etch resistance in corrosive chemistries, very low sodium content and an extremely low dielectric loss tangent of <0.00002. The fine-grained material also possesses four times better corrosion resistance and six times lower sodium content than competitive alumina materials. "Outstanding material property data and very positive customer trials have proven the material quite effective at extending component life and greatly reducing contamination," says Mark Petty, executive vice president of CoorsTek, Inc.

Ultra High-Purity Alumina is Aimed at Extreme-Duty Semiconductor Markets

FIGHTS ABRASION

The Ceradyne Stack Bearing is a hydrodynamic pad-type bearing that uses a rotating runner. The wear surfaces use an advanced grade of silicon carbide that is 50 percent tougher than other grades of silicon carbide. Ceradyne says the hardness of the material prevents abrasive failure in highly demanding applications such as oil and gas drilling where rolling element bearings are often used. "The abrasives simply polish the SiC surfaces," says Russ C. Ide, new products manager at Ceradyne and an inventor of the system. "The significant technological improvement lies in the patented spring mounting component that allows each pad to develop an optimum fluid wedge, equally load each pad in a bearing and then equalize the loading among a stack of bearings and runners."

Ultra High-Purity Alumina is Aimed at Extreme-Duty Semiconductor Markets

COMPLEX DESIGNS

Strong potential for ceramic components is attracting new suppliers such as Phillips Plastics of Prescott, WI, which is applying precision mold-making and processing capabilities to ceramic injection molding. The combination of ceramics with the injection molding process provides several benefits to design engineers, including production of small, highly complex geometries not possible with other ceramic forming processes, high strength, superior corrosion resistance, excellent surface finish and consolidation of multiple components into a single design.

Ceramics for Molding

AO-F 99.8% pure alumina: For parts that

require good wear and corrosion resistance,

such as in chemical operations and industrial

machinery. Maximum temperature of use:

1600 degrees C.

AO-H 96% pure alumina: For parts that

require good wear and corrosion resistance,

such as in electrically insulating bodies and

the vacuum industry. Maximum temperature

of use: 1200 degrees C.

ZTA-FB 99.8% pure alumina toughened with

zirconia: For demanding applications where the

strength of alumina is insufficient. Available in

white and black. Maximum temperature of

use: 400 degrees C.

TZP-A zirconia: For parts with excellent surface

quality requirements and reproduction of fine

details. Delivers good wear resistance and high

strength in such applications as biomedical,

micro-engineering, and fiber optics. Maximum

temperature of use: up to 400 degrees C.

Source: Phillips Plastics

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