An advanced non oxide ceramic material that has been known about for many years. However recent advances in the production of quality powders and fabrication techniques has led to its use in a variety of applications. AIN parts have high thermal conductivty while being an electrical insulator (only the toxic BeO has similar properties).
AIN parts are fabricated by densification of the powder and sintering (1600-1900C). Sintering additives like yttrium are used to promote optimal microstructure and properties.
AIN powder is expensive and there are few companies producing it and thus materials of less suitable mechanical and thermal properties (e.g. Aluminum oxide) are typically used where possible.
|By Tony Hansen
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