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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
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:
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
Am. Ceram. Soc. Bull.
92, 2, p 20-24, 2013.
2. D.C. Harris, Durable 3-5
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.
10, E33–E48 (2012); doi: 10.1111/j.1744-