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Release: February 18, 1999

NGK SUCCEEDS IN COMMERCIALIZING USE OF CARBON FIBER REINFORCED METAL IMPREGNATED COMPOSITES

NGK INSULATORS, LTD. (President: Masaharu Shibata, Head Office: Nagoya) has succeeded in commercializing the use of carbon fiber reinforced metal impregnated composites (MIC).

The MIC material which NGK has put into practical use at this time, is a Silicon Carbide Composite (Si-C.C.). This Si-C.C. is made by impregnating a Carbon Fiber reinforced Carbon Composite (C/C composite) with metallic silicon, thereby distributing SiC homogeneously throughout the material. C/C composites, which are carbon substrates reinforced with carbon fibers, have superior properties to metallic materials, such as lightness, high mechanical strength, high elasticity and high heat resistance withstanding 2000°C or more. NGK, by impregnating C/C composites with metallic silicon, improved the performance of the C/C composites and extended their life. NGK accordingly has established mass production technology for such products anticipating a drastic expansion of their applications.

The technique introduced for Si-C.C. is an application of the metallic silicon impregnating technology which is employed for NGK's NEWSIC®(*), refractories for furnaces. Compared with Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and Chemical Vapor Impregnation (CVI), this technique enables larger and more homogeneous composites to be mass-produced in less time and at lower cost. The C/C composites employed for NGK's Si-C.C., are developed by Across Co., Ltd., Japan's leading C/C composite manufacturer, and are suitable for metallic silicon impregnation.

By generating SiC, the oxidation resistance and wear resistance of Si-C.C. was greatly improved while the properties of conventional C/C composites, such as low thermal expansion, thermal shock resistance, and corrosion resistance, were retained. Examinations conducted so far have confirmed that the life of NGK's Si-C.C. is more than ten times longer than that of conventional C/C composites. As a new industrial material, NGK's Si-C.C. is expected to be applied to a wide range of components including heat resistant components (ex. refractory lining for high temperature furnaces, kiln furniture), sliding components and braking components (ex. brake, etc.) which are utilized in various fields such as aerospace, semiconductors and industrial products.

For Si-C.C., it is possible to increase SiC generation and keep the percentage of metallic silicon extremely low. Materials containing metallic silicon could not be applied to molten metal equipment (ex. pump, etc.), because of contamination problems with the output of the equipment as well as the equipment itself. However, the extremely low percentage of metallic silicon in NGK's Si-C.C. makes these materials suitable for such equipment.

The Ceramic Business Group of NGK newly established the MIC Project in July, 1998. Since then, they have developed new composites by applying their ceramics technology and have grown new businesses marketing these products. Besides NGK's Si-C.C., other composites combining metals except Si and materials other than carbon fibers are now under development. As being developed, they will be put on the market aiming for sales of 10 billion yen by 2005.

(*)High stiffness refractories whose porosity is made extremely close to zero by impregnating the pores with metallic silicon.

References

Across Co., Ltd.

1. Date of Establishment: May 20, 1987
2. Head Office: Warabi-city, Saitama prefecture
3. Paid-in Capital: 494.45 million yen
4. President: Takao Nakagawa
5. Nature of Business: Manufacture and Sale of Refractory Linings and Sliding Components, etc. employing C/C composites
6. Net Sales: 800 million yen (as of March, 1998)
7. No. of Employees: 25
  1. Pictures of Si-C.C
    Large: 2,000mm(High) X 820mm(Wide) X 15mm(Thick)
    Small: 1,300mm(High) X 820mm(Wide) X 15mm(Thick)
    Pictures of Si-C.C
  2. A picture of Si-C.C. through a scanning electron microscope
    A picture of Si-C.C. through a scanning electron microscope

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