Silicon carbide is popularly known as carborundum. The compound is made up of silicon and carbon elements and their chemical formula is SiC. The compound is naturally found as moissanite. This is used as an abrasive for which huge amounts of the compound is produced every year.
Do you know that this compound has varied uses? If not, continue reading this article to find out about the uses of the reaction bonded silicon carbide compound.
For Structural Materials
The compound is often used in bulletproof vests and composite armor. They also serve as shelving and support materials in high-temperature areas like kilns for glass fusing, firing ceramics, etc. The SiC kiln shelves are used because they are light in weight than the traditional alumina shelves.
As A Strong Catalyst Support
Reaction bonded silicon carbide exhibits a natural resistance property to oxidation. This, it is chosen as a heterogeneous catalyst to support oxidation reactions of hydrocarbons, like n-butane to maleic anhydride.
In Steel Production
When dissolved in basic oxygen furnace the compound can be used to make steel. The excess energy generated in the furnace allows processing of more scrap materials same as of hot metals.
As Abrasive Material and Cutting Tools
Silicon carbide is durable. Hence, they are used popularly as an abrasive in modern lapidary. The hardness of it makes it useful in the manufacturing industries for works like water-jet cutting, grinding, sandblasting and honing.
The finer particles of silicon carbide are fixed to paper to make sandpapers and grip tape for skateboards.
In Electric Systems
They are greatly used in the electric voltage purposes as silicon has a greater voltage acceptance. The earliest use of this compound was in the lightning arresters. Because of the voltage-dependent resistance, columns of carborundum pellets were used to connect the power lines with the earth. So, when lightning strikes the excess voltage will be passed to the earth harmlessly.
If switches are made out of them they can be placed in series. As they are good for high voltage requirements they can easily reduce the complexity of a system.
As Carborundum Printmaking
Another use of SiC compounds is collograph printmaking technique commonly known as Carborundum printmaking. On the surface of an aluminum plate, the Carborundum grit is applied to a paste. When the paste becomes dry the ink application is done. The ink gets trapped in the granular surface. When the ink is wiped off the bare areas the ink plate is printed onto paper. The painted marks embossed on the paper is the resultant print.