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10-11-2021 | Ceramics | News | Article

Every Gram Counts

Leyla Buchholz
1:30 min reading time

A new process allows hollow spheres to be produced from metallic and ceramic materials with diameters of one millimeter and above. Compared with a solid sphere, weight savings of up to 90 percent can be achieved.

From automotive and mechanical engineering to automation, measurement, medical and valve technology, and aerospace, there is hardly an industry in which spheres do not play a role. When it comes to metallic precision spheres, usually only solid variants were available. Only for special applications was it worthwhile to manufacture polished hollow spheres from deep-drawn sheet metal. However, this complex process could only be used to produce metallic hollow spheres with a diameter of 10 mm or more. The production of smaller sizes has not been economically feasible to date. Ceramic hollow spheres are also hardly available on the market. As a result, the spheres are often oversized and significantly heavier than required. This counteracts efforts to save resources and energy.

Customized hollow spheres

To solve this problem, Hollomet has developed a new process for the reproducible production of hollow spheres in cooperation with Ballcenter. The technology makes it possible to manufacture spheres with defined wall thicknesses of a few tenths of a millimeter, precise diameters, roundness and low tolerances from 1 mm. The process can be used to process many metals that are available in powder form and can be sintered, such as high-strength steels and stainless steels, as well as ceramic materials such as silicon nitride (Si3N4), silicon carbide (SiC), aluminum oxide (Al2O3), zirconium oxide (ZrO2) and even piezoceramics. Compared to a solid sphere, weight savings of up to 90 % are achieved. At the same time, the flexible choice of materials allows the physical, chemical and thermal properties of the spheres to be tailored to the application. Magnetism, temperature resistance and resistance to chemicals, among other things, can be influenced in this way.

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Background information for this content

2021 | Book

Proceedings of the Munich Symposium on Lightweight Design 2020

Tagungsband zum Münchner Leichtbauseminar 2020

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