Materials for technical ceramics

Technical ceramics is the generic term for ceramic materials that have very different properties/structures depending on the requirement profile.

Zirconia oxide is the high-performance material among the oxide ceramics. It features exceptional fracture toughness, high wear and corrosion resistance, and low thermal conductivity.

Alumina, on the other hand, is the most commonly used ceramic material. Thanks to its very good electrical insulation, dielectric strength and high temperature resistance up to 1750°C, it is ideal for electrical applications and high-temperature applications.

The optimal properties of both materials are realized in our mixed oxide ceramics. Here great strength and toughness are combined with hardness and wear resistance.

Our special materials include the so-called non-oxidic, ceramic high-performance materials such as silicon nitride and carbide as well as boron carbide and aluminum nitride. They have very different properties that are tailored precisely to the respective application. All relevant properties of our precision components made of technical ceramics are listed in a comparison table.

Materials for technical ceramics

Compare the materials with our table:


Zirconia is most famous high-performance material among all oxide ceramics. Ceramic components made out of Zirconia generally consist of Zirconia as basic material added with some percentage of other oxides like Yttria (Y2O3) or Magnesia (MgO). Depending on doping material different material properties could be achieved because of influencing the Yttria’s microstructure. The „ceramic steel“ titled Zirconia is doped with Yttria forming an ultra-fine ductile structure with sub-micron grain formation leading to enormous bending strengths. Magnesia doped qualities are less strong also showing a coarser microstructure.

Zirconia is characterized through its tribological performance (friction and wear) in moving applications and furthermore:

  • Excellent fracture toughness
  • Very good wear resistance
  • High corrosion stability
  • Low thermal conductivity
  • CTE in range of steel

All these properties characterize Zirconia (Yttria stab.) as a leading structure material for highest wear stress in several application fields, even medical technology.

Corresponding BCE qualities are Z 700 and Z 700 E, respectively the Magnesia-doped Z 507 material. For watch and jewelry industry Z 700 grade is also available in black. Further coulors on request.

Data Sheets:

Material data sheet Z-507 (PDF) Zirconia, partially stabilized

Material data sheet Z-700 (PDF) Zirconia, partially stabilized

Material data sheet Z-700E (PDF) Zirconia, partially stabilized

Material data sheet Z-700E-HIP (PDF) Zirconia, partially stabilized, sintered

Material data sheet Z-700-20A (PDF) Zirconia, particle reinforced


Alumina is the most popular ceramic material resulting from nearly endless availability in different purities, starting with approx. 92 % ending up with 99.99 % qualities and the specific material characteristics. Combining a medium level bending strength with excellent wear resistance, high hardness and relatively good thermal conductivity Alumina is versatile useable. Especially in electrical applications and high temperature operations the excellent insulating behavior and dielectric strength favor Alumina for use up to 1750 °C.

Hardness is paired with high brittleness, therefore Alumina is not suited in highly loaded machinery applications. From time to time a customizing and modification in design-engineering can succeed.

BCE treats purity grades in range from 96 % (A 960) to 99.99 % (A 999) — mainly the 99.5…99.7 % quality (A 995).

Data Sheets:

Material data sheet A-960 (PDF) Aluminia, fine crystalline

Material data sheet A-997 (PDF) Aluminia, fine crystalline

Material data sheet A-999 (PDF) Aluminia, fine crystalline
Material data sheet ZTA-86/14 (PDF) Aluminia, particle reinforced

Mixed Oxides

Mixed oxides are manufactured by mixing together main components Alumina and Zirconia. Depending on particular percentage rate with typically 80 % to 90 % Alumina with rest Zirconia or the opposite way around material grades with main content Alumina are so called ZTA (Zirconia Toughened Alumina) or accordingly ATZ (Alumina Toughened Zirconia) with Zirconia as essential part.

Background for this material species is to combine the positive properties of both materials: the high bending strength and ductility of Zirconia with the hardness of Alumina. Using appropriate Alumina contents even the high electrically insulating behavior is not affected.

ATZ is used in special wear applications (e.g. drills for medical surgery and metal working processes) and ZTA for insulating components and medical technology instruments. Excellent surface qualities ensure lowest possible abrasive wear.

Special Materials

Embraced by the term special materials BCE summarizes all so called non-oxide high performance ceramics such as Silicon Nitride (Si3N4), Silicon Carbide (Si-infiltrated SiSiC or Silicon-free sintered SSiC), Boron Carbide (B4C) and Aluminium Nitride (AlN). All mentioned candidates offer different specific properties aiming for different fields of application. Silicon Nitride offers a high bending strength and fracture toughness likewise Zirconia material but showing a low CTE paired with high thermal conductivity.

The Carbides with excellent hardness values are competing mainly against Alumina (Al2O3) materials.

Aluminium Nitride is taking an exceptional position because of the extremely good thermal conductivity in range of 150…180 W/mK suited for high-performance electronic application, cruibles and so on.

Data Sheets:

Material data sheet N-105 (PDF) Silicon Nitride, hot pressed

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Dr. Torsten Weiß
Dr. Torsten Weiß