Silicon nitride is a man made compound synthesized through several different chemical reaction methods. Parts are pressed and sintered by well developed methods to produce a ceramic with a unique set of outstanding properties. The material is dark gray to black in color and can be polished to a very smooth reflective surface, giving parts with a striking appearance. High performance silicon nitride materials were developed for automotive engine wear parts, such as valves and cam followers and proven effective. The cost of the ceramic parts never dropped enough to make the ceramics feasible in engines and turbochargers. The very high quality bodies developed for these demanding high reliability applications are available today and can be used in many severe mechanical, thermal and wear applications.
The material is an electrical insulator and is not wet by nonferrous alloys. Silicon nitride is a rather expensive material, but it’s performance to cost benefit ratio is excellent in the applications where it can outperform the normally utilized materials with long life and very reliable low maintenance operation.