Silicon nitrides (Si3N4) feature an excellent combination of material properties. They are nearly as light as silicon carbide (SiC), but their microstructure gives them excellent thermal shock resistance and their high fracture toughness makes them resistant to impacts and shocks.
Unlike hard metals or other cutting materials, machining processes can be performed with ceramic inserts at maximum speed without the use of cooling lubricants. The combination of good tribological properties and excellent fracture toughness makes silicon nitride ceramics predestined for applications as balls and rolling elements for light and extremely precise bearings, heavy-duty ceramic forming tools and automotive components subject to high stress. And the good thermal shock resistance and high temperature resistance is exploited in welding processes.