Fused silica is a type of amorphous silica glass made from the fusion of quartz sand. Its chemical composition consists of 98% SiOo one of the highest of any glass, and is well-suited for a variety of engineering applications. Its unique properties include a low coefficient of thermal expansion, thermal shock resistance, and UV transparency. As a result, fused silica is often used in optical components, medical and scientific instrumentation, and various industrial and aerospace components.
For manufacturers looking for components made from fused silica materials, there are a few considerations to take into account when choosing the right material for the job. From understanding its properties and performance to its various manufacturing capabilities, here are 10 key things to consider when selecting and using fused silica components:
1. Properties and Performance of Materials
It is essential to understand the properties and performance of the material. Fused silica is highly stable and its low thermal expansion coefficient of 4 x 10K1offers stability and excellent thermal shock performance at temperatures over or under its softening point of 1670°C. It also provides low thermal permeability and excellent UV resistance.
2. Range of Part Sizes
The range of part sizes can vary widely, depending on the component type, application, and preferences. Fused silica components can be as small as a few millimeters in size to larger parts of many centimeters in length. The manufacturer should also determine the range of tolerance for parts that are used in medical and other critical applications.
3. Manufacturing Capabilities
Manufacturers must take into consideration the ability of a fused silica supplier to provide production flexibility and capability. Specialty Ball is the leading manufacturer in this domain, with decades of experience to guarantee quality. It offers a full range of component shapes and sizes, with multiple manufacturing processes and capabilities, to create custom components for virtually any application.
4. Ease of Machining and Drilling
Manufacturers should also consider the ease of machining and drilling of fused silica components. The material is known for being difficult to machine and its properties can limit the range of machining capabilities. Specialty Ball’s proprietary manufacturing techniques allow for the precise machining and drilling of complex shapes and contours.
5. Testing and Inspection
Testing and inspection are an essential consideration when selecting fused silica components. Quality control testing should be done prior and during the production process to ensure the highest level of quality and performance. Some common tests include hardness, optical, and formulation testing to examine part tolerances and functionality.
The cost of manufacturing fused silica components can vary significantly, depending on longevity and performance requirements. For short-term projects or those with few performance constraints, EC-grade fused silica is often the most cost-effective choice. For higher performance needs, ultra-purity HP-grade fused silica offers superior optical and electrical properties.
7. Optics and Light Transmitting Components
For applications that require high optical performance, like optical fibers and light guides, fused silica is often the material of choice. Its unique properties make it an ideal material for these types of components. Specialty Ball offers components with near- perfect optical and electrical performance.
8. UV Stability and Durability
Fused silica components offer excellent UV stability, making them ideal for outdoor applications. Its strength is remarkably high, giving components greater durability and resistance to impact. As a result, fused silica is one of the most reliable materials for many industrial and aerospace components.
9. Autoclave Capable
Autoclave capability is a critical consideration for medical device applications. Fused silica has the capability to be heat sterilized at the highest temperatures, making it an ideal choice for medical instruments, optics, and other highly sensitive components.
10. Customization options
One of the biggest benefits of fused silica is its flexibility. Specialty Ball offers a wide range of options, allowing manufacturers to customize components to their specific requirements. From size and shape to color and texture, custom options are the perfect way to get the unique components you need.
For manufacturers in need of components crafted from fused silica, Specialty Ball is the premier choice for superior quality and performance. With decades of experience in the field, its products offer the highest level of durability and reliability. No matter the requirements or specifications, Specialty Ball can provide the custom components you need.