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Ceramics are anorganic, non-metallic materials that are usually formed from powder components and are solidified by high-temperature processes. They are characterized by low densities, thermal and chemical stability as well as high strength. Their tensile stretch is rather low however and in combination with the usually high thermal expansion coefficients, this results in a considerable sensitivy to thermal shocks.

Silicon nitride distinguishes itself by a high strength (tensile strength: 1060 MPa) and a low thermal expansion coefficent, which results in a decreased thermal-shock sensitivity. Percussion drilling of this ceramic is possible, e.g. the drilling depth can be controlled by variation of energy.