Hexagonal Boron Nitride (hBN), an advanced synthetic ceramic from Saint-Gobain, combines a number of useful thermal, electrical, physical and chemical properties in one unique material. Saint-Gobain’s more than 50 years of expertise in harnessing these properties and transforming hexagonal BN into sophisticated solutions to application-specific challenges is unsurpassed in the industry.
Boron Nitride powders, also referred to as white graphite are non-abrasive, white powders with a hexagonal platy crystal structure similar to graphite, but with a much higher oxidation resistance at 800ºC. Boron Nitride powders have high thermal conductivity, low coefficient of friction, high dielectric constant and are chemically inert.
Due to this range of unique properties Boron Nitride powders find use in a broad range of applications ranging from electronics, aerospace, oil and gas, ceramic manufacturing and cosmetics.
In simple terms, hexagonal Boron Nitride, hBN, is very similar to graphite. It is the most stable and soft among BN polymorphs, and is therefore used as a filler, lubricant and an additive to cosmetic products. The cubic Boron Nitride, cBN, has similar crystal structure as diamond, and is the second- hardest known material after diamond.
Here at Saint-Gobain we do not supply cBN.
PBN is a grade of hexagonal boron nitride made directly onto a substrate surface by chemical vapor deposition process.
Here at Saint-Gobain we do not supply PBN.
Low-density BN powders typically have tap densities less than 0.5 grams/ cm3. High-density BN powders typically have tap densities higher than 0.6 grams/ cm3
In low-density agglomerates, the BN platelets are held together loosely by randomly interlocked platelets. These agglomerates are soft and break down with minimal amount of shear.
In high-density agglomerates, the BN platelets are stacked together tightly. These agglomerates are “robust” and harder to break apart than low-density agglomerates.
There needs to be enough filler to create good inter-particle contact and not just BN particles floating in a matrix of non-conductive Polymer.
Boron Nitride grade selection for thermal conductivity improvement typically depends on 3 key factors –
You should be sure that the largest particle size does not exceed the intended thickness or cross section of the final product. It isn’t uncommon for formulators to mix more than one size distribution to achieve better packing of the BN particles and optimum percolation strength in the resin matrix.
Platelets tend to align in the direction of resin flow, and due to its inherent anisotropy, offer a very good in-plane thermal conductivity. Platelets also allow for the addition of BN to systems that require a very thin layer or bond line that would be too big to allow agglomerates to be added.
Agglomerates and spherical grades - where small BN platelets are randomly oriented in all directions, like a snowball - overcome this limitation making BN an isotropic filler suitable for in-plane as well as through-plane thermal conductivity improvements.
Platelet grades are single-crystal BN particles, that are small, but robust and do not break down under high shear forces. Platelet grades are suitable for high shear operations like twin screw compounding and extrusion.
Spherical and agglomerated grades on the other hand are comprised of multiple small Boron Nitride platelets, held together by interlocking planes, without addition of any binder system. This makes these grades particularly susceptible to breaking apart when subjected to high shear. These grades are suitable for low-medium shear mixing operations like planetary mixer.
BN is white, non-toxic, stable, and inert. It is oxidation resistant up to about 900°C (unlike Graphite that oxidizes below 500°C). BN keeps its lubricity above 500°C, which is the limiting temperature for graphite as a solid lubricant in air. BN also retains it lubricity in inert or vacuum conditions
In addition, Boron Nitride has a low dielectric constant, making it an ideal material for insulation, protection and low dielectric loss.
Très BN® powders are the lamellar form of BN, which resembles graphite. Each powder particle is a platelet made up of many layers. Each layer is a flat plane of covalently bonded boron and nitrogen atoms in a hexagonal pattern. While the bonds within each layer are strong, the forces keeping those layers together, called Van der Waals forces, are very weak, causing the soft and lubricious effect when the platelets are rubbed or sheared, and the layers cleave apart.
Additionally, the surfaces of high purity TRÈS BN crystals are free of carbon and other impurities, and therefore there is no “drag” or sticky feeling.
The key difference is in particle size and crystal morphology. All grades are high purity and pass global regulations for heavy metals. With grades ranging from 2 to 30 microns in average diameter, the appearance will change as well, going from a matte white appearance of 2 micron particles to a more translucent or shiny appearance of 30 micron powder.
Single platelets of high purity hexagonal BN appear transparent when viewed through the platelet face. This can be seen on large platelets as a “sparkle” on that larger facet face. Most fine mesh BN powders form agglomerates that, if not dispersed, appear white and opaque
The amount of Très BN® filler in a formulation is completely up to formulator, the application, and desired results. TRÈS BN is typically added to cosmetic formulations from 3 – 10%.
Learn more from our suggested formulations.
Standard packaging for Boron Nitride powders is 25kg in cardboard boxes or drums. Depending on the grade, our manufacturing lot sizes could be between 250 lbs. to 1200 lbs.