Ceramics for Environmental Research

Advanced ceramics are used in many forms of research as they are inert, electrically insulating, don’t outgas to contaminate an experiment, mechanically stable and in some instances can be used to very high temperatures.

The wide variety of materials available, each with subtle differences, can be best seen in our materials comparison chart where, a range of properties can be explored over a diverse group of advanced ceramics.

Most research experiments are conducted in vacuum or ultra high vacuum to reduce the chance of error from the surrounding atmosphere even in a clean environment. The creation of a vacuum also requires a shell that does not contaminate the experiment – generally a 316-grade steel – but this then requires power and samples for the experiment to be either placed inside the shell or power to pass through it but still being insulated from the metal by a ceramic.

The experiments can require the whole vacuum chamber to be heated to remove any chance of contaminant. Ceramics within the vacuum provide electrical insulation which is assisted by the vacuum itself especially where high voltages may be required.

Advanced ceramics such as alumina, Shapal Hi-M Soft (a machinable aluminium nitride or ALN), pure aluminium nitride, boron nitrides and in some cases, different grades of zirconia can be used within the vacuum envelope.

Heaters, insulators, quadrupole saddles, spacers, tubes, ceramic sample holders, crucibles, isolators are often used in these systems.