Boron carbide is generally used in the bulletproof vests, engine sabotage powders and rank armors. They are also used for several industrial applications. This is definitely a hard material but it is definitely not harder than diamond and boron nitride.
This compound was discovered much earlier in the 19th century. This occurred from reactions of metal boride as a by-product. But the chemical formula for this compound is unknown. In the later times approximately in the 1930s, the chemical formula for the compound was estimated to be B4C. This material is slightly carbon deficient if one refers to the formula.
It is attractive as an absorbent because they have an extremely good ability to absorb boron carbide. The nuclear applications include shielding, shut down pellets and control rod. The boron carbide is often powered within the control rods to increase the surface area.
The properties of boron carbide:
Well, boron carbide as we have already mentioned before is quite hard. There is a cross section that especially makes the neutron absorption possible. There is very much stability that provides ionization of the radiations and most of the chemicals. As the third-hardest substance available, it is often referred to as a black diamond.
This material is p-type. It is also a semiconductor having electronic properties. The band gap of energy largely depends on the composition and the degree of order. It has many mid-band gap states but the most common band gap is estimated to be 2.09eV. This is responsible for the complication of the photoluminescence spectrum.
How is boron carbide prepared?
For the very first time, it was synthesized by Henri Moissan, in the year 1899. He has reduced boron trioxide in the presence of carbon from magnesium or carbon in an electric arc furnace. While if you are considering the case of carbon the reaction occurs at a temperature that is above the melting point of the compound. This also releases large amounts of carbon monoxide. If magnesium is used in the process then the reaction can be done in a graphite furnace. The byproducts of magnesium can be further removed by acid treatment.
What are the uses of B2O3-bonded Boron Nitride?
They are having multiple uses. They are used as abrasives, metal matrix composites, padlocks, cutting tools and dies, etc. They are also used in vehicle and personal anti-ballistic armor plating. The manufacturers find it safe to use it in the in brake linings of the vehicles, scratch, and water resistant coatings, grit blasting nozzles, scratch and wear resistant coatings and for many other purposes.