Machinable glass ceramic is a unique material with a number of key properties that allow it a number of uses. What are these properties and in what uses do they provide most benefit? Read on to find out more.
First of all, machinable glass ceramic can withstand very high temperatures. It can endure 800ºC of continuous use and a peak temperature of 1000ºC. It also has a low thermal conductivity, meaning that it is a good high temperature insulator.
Machinable glass ceramic has no porosity, meaning that it has no empty spaces in it. It is a strong material so it will not shrink or deform, unlike many other materials. It is an excellent electrical insulator, demonstrating electrical resistivity and high dielectric strength.
Machinable glass ceramic performs like a technical ceramic, with the addition that it is easy to alter to form a variety of complex shapes. It also has tight tolerance capability, so can provide the precision needed for the applications that require it.
Finally, machinable glass ceramic is radiation resistant, making it ideal for nuclear applications and research.
The above characteristics of machinable glass ceramic make it ideal for a number of industry sectors. These include: high vacuum environments; semiconductor; solar; laser manufacturing; aerospace; defence; nuclear.
Perhaps most notable is its use on America’s reusable Space Shuttle Oribiter where the material is used on the hinges, windows and doors. It is also used in a NASA gamma radiation detector.
Interestingly, whilst with most materials the dust given off in use is an irritant and must not be inhaled, machinable glass ceramic is not at all toxic. This eliminates any health and safety issues, making it safe in a variety of environments. For example, an amateur working with machinable glass ceramics need not worry about having an extensive knowledge of possible effects or how to guard against them.
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