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Solid Lubricant Applications
Solid lubricants
Boron Nitride

Boron nitride is a synthetic material, which although discovered in the early 19th century was not developed as a commercial material until the latter half of the 20th century. Boron and nitrogen are neighbours of carbon in the periodic table - in combination boron and nitrogen have the same number of outer shell electrons - the atomic radii of boron and nitrogen are similar to that of carbon. It is not surprising therefore that boron nitride and carbon exhibit similarity in their crystal structure.

In the same way that carbon exists as graphite and diamond, boron nitride can be synthesised in hexagonal and cubic forms.
The synthesis of hexagonal boron nitride powder is achieved by nitridation or ammonalysis of boric oxide at elevated temperature. Cubic boron nitride is formed by high pressure, high temperature treatment of hexagonal BN.
Hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) is the equivalent in structure of graphite (see figure 1). Like graphite its plate like microstructure and layered lattice structure give it good lubricating properties. h-BN is resistant to sintering and is usually formed by hot pressing.