- R&D 100 Awards
Boron Suboxide, B6O is the third hardest material behind diamond and cubic boron nitride. It has a plethora of applications to replace diamond and ceramics. This newly discovered process can produce very low-cost boron powder in high purity, and control oxidizing of that boron powder in an atmospheric pressure plasma that provides B6O at a cost under that of B4C and SiC, with higher hardness than these commodity ceramics. The boron powder is electrolytically produced from the low-cost borax (B2O3) powder in a composite carbon anode in pilot production cells. That electrolytically produced boron powder is oxidized at atmospheric pressure in a plasma system. Applications for very hard ceramic-like materials include wear, impact, ballistics, corrosion resistance, electrical resistivity, and lightweight. The capability to fabricate in large and thick pieces is also an asset of this novel material.