Silicon Nitride Balls Market: Overview
Silicon nitride is a composition of nitrogen and silicon chemical elements. It is thermodynamically stable and is used in a wide range of applications. Silicon nitride balls are made from silicon nitride powder through a series of processes. They are commonly known as silicon nitride ceramic balls. Silicon nitride balls are gray or black in color and are primarily used in bearings. These balls are suitable for applications where factors such as high speeds, high loads, and extreme temperatures are required. Silicon nitride balls are lighter than steel, non-magnetic, non-porous, and non-corrosive. In terms of shape, these balls are tougher than steel. These balls are non-porous; therefore, they are capable of spinning faster than steel balls and are nearly frictionless.
Silicon nitride balls possess good shock resistance; therefore, the bearings made of silicon nitride balls are mostly used in high efficiency applications. For example, they are used in the engines of space shuttles. Bearings made of silicon nitride balls are harder than metal. This leads to minimal contact with the bearing track, resulting in 2-9 times longer life, 75% less friction, 55% less weight, and 75% higher speeds. Silicon nitride balls based bearings can operate at minimum lubrication and high temperature. They are corrosion resistant in comparison to traditional metal bearings. The usage of silicon nitride balls helps lower the operating and maintenance costs with increased reliability and part life. These balls are primarily used where electric or magnetic fields constrain the use of metals. For instance, they are used in electric-field seekers or tidal flow meters.
Silicon nitride balls are manufactured with the help of fine silicon nitride powder, which acts as a raw material. Aluminum oxide and yttrium oxide are used as sintering aids. The mixture of silicon nitride powder and sintering aids is added to solvent in a ball mill in order to produce a homogenous slurry. A binder is added to the slurry with the help of spray drier. The slurry is then granulated to ball-shaped uniform particles. After that, forming and dewaxing processes are carried out for the removal of organic material from the mixture. Finally, under high pressure and high temperature gas atmosphere, a tough sintered body without any pores is obtained. The final product is ground to specified dimension and surface roughness.
Silicon Nitride Balls Market: Key Segments
The global silicon nitride balls market can be segmented based on type, application, and region. In terms of type, the silicon nitride balls market can be classified into <0.5″ ball, 0.5”- <1.0″ ball, 1”- <1.5″ ball, and <1.5″ ball. Based on application, the silicon nitride balls market can be divided into aerospace, automotive, machine tools, energy, and others. Silicon nitride balls are used in aerospace to reduce and maintain the weight. Bearings made of silicon nitride balls are used in high performance automobiles. The others segment consists of electronic devices such as computer disk drives and skateboards.
Silicon Nitride Balls Market: Regional Outlook
In terms of region, the global silicon nitride balls market can be split into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America is projected to lead the global silicon nitride balls market during the forecast period. The market in Asia Pacific is expected to expand significantly due to the growth in end-user industries in the region, especially in India and China. Latin America and Middle East & Africa are expected to account for a moderate share of the market.
Silicon Nitride Balls Market: Key Players
Major players operating in global silicon nitride balls market are REDHILL PRECISION BALLS Inc., TN AMERICAS HOLDINGS, INC., Boca Bearings, Inc., Salem Specialty Ball, Inc., Ortech Advanced Ceramics, Spheric Trafalgar, Thomson Industries, Inc., SKF, TOSHIBA MATERIALS CO., LTD., and CoorsTek Inc.