Abstract: The third hardest material after diamond and cubic BN is boron suboxide (B6O). Such a hard material has many potential uses because of its hardness and the high boron content nuclear applications. B6O has been virtually unused in the past because its high cost batch synthesis by the oxidation of B with B2O3 at temperatures and pressures similar to synthesizing synthetic diamond processing. Boron powder itself is quite expensive. To overcome the basic high cost of boron powder, a unique electrolytic process is utilized to produce a low cost B powder. The low cost electrolytic B powder is utilized in controlled oxidation in an atmospheric pressure plasma produced by a transferred arc (PTA) technique. The low cost B powder coupled with the low cost fluidized bed atmospheric pressure controlled oxidation process produces B6O at a competitive cost to other hard materials of B4C and SiC.
Author: James Withers
Keywords: Boron Suboxide, Ceramics, Superhard Ceramic