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Silicon carbide (commonly referred to as SiC) is a synthetic crystalline substance with no color in its pure state, used for making abrasives, refractories, ceramics, glass, and hard alloys like steel.

SiC is produced by melting silica sand and carbon together in electrical resistance furnaces at high temperatures. Boron can help increase densification.


Silicon Carbide (SiC) is a hard and refractory semi-conductor material with polytypic structures based on stacking sequences of carbon and silicon atoms, most prominently zinc-blende (3C SiC). Other SiC structures may be cubic, hexagonal or rhombohedral in shape with names such as alpha SiC or beta SiC for identification purposes. SiC’s yellow to green to blueish black iridescent crystals sublimate at 2700 degC with densities approaching 3.21g cm-3 density for sublimation.

Edward Goodrich Acheson made its discovery and subsequent commercial production known as Carborundum in 1893, the name given to its crystalline form. Today this hard substance is commonly used as an abrasive in grinding wheels and metal cutting tools as well as being lined into furnaces to form nonferrous metal production plants and as refractory material used during heat treatments on metals, glass production processes and semiconductor electronics production facilities.

Silicon carbide’s melting point depends on pressure. As demonstrated in Figure 2, its experimental curve represents numerous quenching experiments conducted under different temperatures and pressure conditions. As shown by a negative slope on the curve, melting temperatures decrease with increasing pressure, as predicted by ab initio calculations based on density functional theory. This trend corroborates with ab initio predictions made using ab initio models of density functional theory. American Elements offers an impressive range of high purity silicon carbide compositions ranging from standard and custom compositions, rods, bars, plates and powder forms – as well as other machined shapes available upon request – in terms of purity levels and other properties such as organometallic compounds or solutions. This wide selection can be purchased as standard material from stock at American Elements or customized per customer specifications for use in research applications.


Silicon carbide (SiC) is an extremely hard, covalently bonded compound of silicon and carbon that occurs naturally as the mineral moissanite and has been mass produced since 1893 for use as an abrasive. Silicon carbide grains may also be combined via sintering to form hard ceramics with numerous applications; doping with nitrogen or phosphorus forms an n-type semiconductor while doping with boron, aluminum, gallium or beryllium can produce p-type semiconductors.

Silicon carbide melts at different pressures depending on its crystal structure and temperature, with alpha modification (a-SiC) having hexagonal close-packed grains similar to Wurtzite while beta modification (b-SiC) having zinc blende crystal structure similar to diamond. SiC is composed of multiple polymorphs ranging in unit cells from cubic to rhombohedral unit cells; most prevalent among them being alpha modification which has hexagonal close packed grains similar to Wurtzite while beta modification (b-SiC), both having close packed hexagonal close-packed hexagonal close packed hexagonal close packed hexagonal close-packed hexagonal close packed hexagonal close packed crystal structures similar to Wurtzite.

a-SiC forms of silicon carbide are popularly used for polishing paper and grinding media applications, while its counterpart b-SiC has limited commercial uses. Their melting points have been measured up to temperatures of 3300 K and, under these conditions, both types melted congruently with an adverse slope of -44+4 K/GPa on their melting curve indicating higher densities of melted a-SiC than b-SiC.


Silicon carbide is an extremely hard material with excellent corrosion and abrasion resistance, with a high melting point to withstand great pressures and no chemical impurities – as such, it can be melted to form different metals at room temperature or by high-pressure use. Used primarily as an abrasive and refractory material in applications like furnace linings. Silicon carbide also resists most organics, inorganic acids, salts (excluding hydrofluoric acid ) but not hydrofluoric acid!

Silicon carbide’s refractory property has led to its wide usage in abrasive products like car brakes and clutches as well as ceramic plates for bulletproof vests. Furthermore, manufacturing machines including drills, grinding wheels, milling cutters and laser cutting systems utilize it. Furthermore, it boasts an expansive band gap suitable for electronic components like radar systems, microwave antennae, solar cells and high voltage devices.

Silicon carbide’s density ranges between 2.8 to 3.2 g/cm3. It melts at low temperatures, producing a silica-carbon tetrahedron crystal lattice with strong covalent bonds between carbon and silicon atoms. Predicting its melting point can be done easily using molecular dynamics simulations based on density functional theory (DFT) simulations; melting temperatures peaking around 1200 degC while its minimum value hits 3000 degC; the melting curve produced has a negative slope value of -44+4 K/GPa which matches up well with experimental data regarding melts.

Chemical Composition

Silicon carbide (SiC) is an insoluble crystalline material, typically yellow to green in colour with blueish-black hues, that sublimates at 2700 degC and sublimates into powder form. While insoluble in water it dissolves in alkalis (NaOH and KOH) or iron. While insoluble it sublimates at 3.21g cm-3 with sublimation temperature around 2700degC.

Silicon carbide combines Si and C atoms in two primary coordination tetrahedra, with four Si atoms bonded to a central carbon atom, that are then linked at their corners, stacking to form polar structures that give this material its hardness. There are various stacking sequences, or polytypes, of Si and C atoms found within silicon carbide crystals that give this material its variety of shapes and properties.

Pure silicon carbide is typically an electrical insulator; however, its conductivity can be enhanced through doping with nitrogen or phosphorus and adding boron or aluminium. Carborundums, used in crystal radios, often incorporate doped silicon carbide.

Since 1912, silicon carbide has been utilized as an abrasive. Additionally, its uses extend to making refractory linings, high temperature bricks and ceramics, automobile parts, abrasive wheels, cutting tools, hard electrical components and bulletproof vest components. With the highest melting point and hardest Mohs scale rating among advanced ceramic materials and its dense construction which prevents chemical attack on it, silicon carbide remains popular as an abrasive.

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