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A D V A N C E D M A T E R I A L S & P R O C E S S E S | N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 5

2 8

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fractured surface of conventionally hot

pressed Spinel with LiF doping.

Surmet uses a different approach,

which includes solid-state pressureless

sintering followed by hot isostatic press-

ing (HIP). This method is not without

challenges, but the overall result is me-

chanically superior and more reliable

onmany counts than hot pressed Spinel

(Fig. 4). Pressureless sintering followed

by HIP is also used to produce ALON.



Both ALON and Spinel have enor-

mous potential in a broad range of

applications. However, ALON appears

to be at the forefront primarily due to

its robustness and superior properties

in addition to large-scale and reliable

manufacturability. Table 2 summarizes

some of the key properties and applica-

tions for ALON and Spinel although the

majority of the list is mainly applicable

to ALON.



Scaling up ALON manufacturing

from laboratory to production quantities

has required more than a decade of ded-

icated process development and tens of

millions of dollars. Work is now under-

way to bring down the cost so that these

materials can find a role in cost-sensitive

applications such as consumer products,

semiconductor equipment, and ener-

gy-related uses. ALON is now available

in large sizes (up to 18 × 35 in.) and large

quantities. Spinel remainsawork inprog-

ress. For its efforts, Surmet was recently

awarded the American Ceramic Society’s

Corporate Technical Achievement Award

in 2013. Surmet acknowledges funding

support from the U.S. Department of De-

fense in this effort.


For more information:

Mohan Rami-

setty is a materials engineer, Surmet

Corp., 31 B St., Burlington, MA 01803,





The authors acknowledge Santosh

Jha, Lee Goldman, Uday Kashalikar, Mark

Smith, Cindy Gunda, and the entire Sur-

met team for their valuable contributions

and helpful discussions in preparing this



1. M. Ramisetty, et al., Transparent

Polycrystalline Cubic Spinels Protect

and Defend,

Am. Ceram. Soc. Bull.

, Vol

92, 2, p 20-24, 2013.

2. D.C. Harris, Durable 3-5


m Trans-

mitting Infrared Window Materials,


frared Phys. Technol.

, Vol 39, p 185–201,


3. L.M. Goldman, et al., ALON Optical

Ceramic Transparencies for Window,

Dome and Transparent Armor Applica-

tions, Proc. SPIE 8016, 801608, 2011.

4. M. Rubat du Merac, et al., Effect of Im-

purities and LiF Additive in Hot-Pressed

Transparent Magnesium Aluminate


Int. J. Appl. Ceram. Technol.

, Vol

10, E33–E48 (2012); doi: 10.1111/j.1744-

7402.2012.02828.x (2012).