Silicon nitride powder is an advanced ceramic material with very high strength and wear resistance. It is widely used in mechanical devices that need high-performance and durability.
Its oxidation resistance, hardness, and high-temperature capability make it an ideal choice for bearings, air turbine blades, mechanical seals, permanent molds and other specialized applications. It is also a great option for military and aeronautics hardware manufacturers.
Generally, silicon nitride powders have about 1-2% by weight of oxygen, depending on the manufacturing method. Normally, their sinterability is affected by the amounts of surface oxygen, for example, the atomic ratio of Si atoms belonging to SiO2 to Si atoms on the same powder surfaces ([C/Si]). If this [C/Si] ratio exceeds 0.20, the amount of SiO2 on the silicon nitride powder's surface will be significantly reduced at the sintering time.
As a result, the sinterability of the sintered product obtained with such fine grain silicon nitride powder is low. The molding obtained therewith develops density irregularity and pores or holes in the interior, causing problems of dimensional accuracy and variances in physical properties.
The present invention was conceived to solve the problems described above and it is an object of this invention to provide a silicon nitride powder which can produce a homogeneously packed, and high density molding, from which a highly reliable sintered product of silicon nitride with high strength and small variance of strength and dimension may be formed. It is another object of this invention to provide a readily sinterable silicon nitride powder which permits stable production of sintered products with high strength.
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