Zirconia is a white powdered substance commonly utilized to manufacture dental frameworks for dental substructures like crowns, bridges, etc. Unlike typical ceramics that have a tendency to be brittle and rigid, Zirconia boasts exceptional wear resistance and robustness, and possesses a flexibility surpassing that of other technical ceramics.
Pure zirconia can be found in three crystal phases at varying temperatures, including Monoclinic, Cubic, and Tetragonal. The fine grain size allows the material to feature sharp edges and exceedingly smooth surfaces. To avert and manage structural alterations, several distinct oxides can be incorporated into the zirconia crystal structure during production. These oxides encompass Ceria, Magnesia, and Yttria.
Zirconia-based ceramics are also employed in numerous other applications. For instance, they can serve as adjuncts in welding procedures, as implements for wire shaping, as cells for measuring oxygen levels, as insulating rings in thermal processes (Figure 1), and as substances for dental crowns and bridges (Figure 2), as previously mentioned. These ceramics have been advanced to the point where an array of microstructure designs are now feasible by governing the manufacturing process, composition, heat treatment, and final machining.
Characteristics of Zirconia Zirconia exhibits outstanding resistance to chemicals and corrosion without the customary fragility observed in technical ceramics. When juxtaposed with other advanced ceramic materials, zirconia displays remarkable potency at room temperature. Other leading attributes of this substance include elevated fracture toughness, heightened density, notable hardness and resistance to wear, favorable frictional characteristics, high-temperature capability up to 2,400ºC, non-magnetic properties, low thermal conductivity, electrical insulation, coefficient of thermal expansion akin to iron, and modulus of elasticity reminiscent of steel. Over time, a new moniker was coined for zirconia: ‘ceramic steel.’
Applications of Zirconia
Zirconia finds utility in a diverse array of applications, including but not limited to precision ball valve components (seats and balls), valves, impellers, pump seals, oxygen sensors, high-density grinding media, fuel cell membranes, thread guides, medical prosthetics, cutting blades, gears, metal forming tools, radio frequency heating susceptors, metrology components, bearings, bushes, and drive shafts.
Manufacture of Zirconia Components
The production of zirconia components on a small scale hinges on the geometry of the piece in question. Consequently, three common processing methods come into play: injection molding, precision grinding, and laser cutting. Injection molding proves its worth in large-scale zirconia production, while laser cutting offers a relatively straightforward process. However, it’s important to note that laser cutting typically has a thickness limitation of around 1mm. This variety of zirconia sees extensive use in the electronics sector. When equipped with costly tooling, it can achieve a high level of dimensional accuracy.
Precision Ceramics boasts an experience spanning over two decades in the development of top-tier technical ceramic components, suited for a wide spectrum of applications. Their profound knowledge of ceramic materials, coupled with a seasoned team of engineers and operators, positions the company to deliver advanced and cost-effective solutions in the realm of technical ceramics. Additionally, Precision Ceramics operates ultra-precise machining centers, catering to the specific needs of various applications.