Silicon carbide (SiC), also called carborundum , is a semiconductor containing silicon and carbon. It occurs in nature as the extremely rare mineral moissanite. Synthetic SiC powder has been mass-produced since 1893 to be used as being an abrasive. Grains of silicon carbide can be bonded together by sintering to make very hard ceramics which can be widely used in applications requiring high endurance, like car brakes, car clutches and ceramic plates in bulletproof vests. Electronic applications of Silicon Carbide Substrate including light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and detectors in early radios were first demonstrated around 1907. SiC is utilized in semiconductor electronics devices that operate at high temperatures or high voltages, or both. Large single crystals of silicon carbide can be grown by the Lely method and they can be cut into gems called synthetic moissanite.

Wide-scale production is credited to Edward Goodrich Acheson in 1890. Acheson was trying to prepare artificial diamonds as he heated a combination of clay (aluminium silicate) and powdered coke (carbon) within an iron bowl. He known as the blue crystals that formed carborundum, believing that it is a brand new compound of carbon and aluminium, much like corundum. In 1893, Ferdinand Henri Moissan discovered the very rare naturally occurring SiC mineral while examining rock samples found within the Canyon Diablo meteorite in Arizona. The mineral was named moissanite in the honor. Moissan also synthesized SiC by a few routes, including dissolution of carbon in molten silicon, melting a blend of calcium carbide and silica, and also by reducing silica with carbon in an electric furnace.

Acheson patented the process to make silicon carbide powder on February 28, 1893. Acheson also developed the electric batch furnace in which SiC is still made today and formed the Carborundum Company to produce bulk SiC, initially to be used as being an abrasive. In 1900 the company settled with all the Electric Smelting and Aluminum Company when a judge’s decision gave “priority broadly” to its founders “for reducing ores along with other substances by the incandescent method”. It is stated that Acheson was attempting to dissolve carbon in molten corundum (alumina) and discovered the actual existence of hard, blue-black crystals which he thought to be a compound of carbon and corundum: hence carborundum. It may be he named the content “carborundum” by analogy to corundum, that is another very hard substance (9 on the Mohs scale).

The initial usage of SiC was as being an abrasive. This was then electronic applications. Initially in the twentieth century, silicon carbide was used as a detector within the first radios. In 1907 Henry Joseph Round produced the very first LED by making use of a voltage to a SiC crystal and observing yellow, green and orange emission on the cathode. Those experiments were later repeated by O. V. Losev within the Soviet Union in 1923

Natural moissanite is found in just minute quantities in certain types of meteorite and then in corundum deposits and kimberlite. Nearly all the Gan Wafer Price sold on earth, including moissanite jewels, is synthetic. Natural moissanite was first found in 1893 being a small element of the Canyon Diablo meteorite in Arizona by Dr. Ferdinand Henri Moissan, after whom the material was named in 1905. Moissan’s discovery of natural SiC was first disputed because his sample may have already been contaminated by silicon carbide saw blades that have been already on the market during that time.

While rare on Earth, silicon carbide is remarkably common in space. It is a common type of stardust found around carbon-rich stars, and examples of this stardust happen to be found in pristine condition in primitive (unaltered) meteorites. The xorcoc carbide found in space and in meteorites is almost exclusively the beta-polymorph. Analysis of SiC grains found within the Murchison meteorite, a carbonaceous chondrite meteorite, has revealed anomalous isotopic ratios of carbon and silicon, indicating that these grains originated outside of the solar system.

In the arts, silicon carbide is actually a popular abrasive in modern lapidary as a result of durability and low cost from the material. In manufacturing, it is used for its hardness in abrasive machining processes such as grinding, honing, water-jet cutting and sandblasting. Particles of silicon carbide are laminated to paper to create sandpapers and the grip tape on skateboards.

In 1982 an exceptionally strong composite of aluminium oxide and Epitaxial Wafer whiskers was discovered. Development of this laboratory-produced composite to a commercial product took only 36 months. In 1985, the very first commercial cutting tools made from this alumina and silicon carbide whisker-reinforced composite were introduced to the market.

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