Because of their high thermal conductivity beryllium oxide ceramics—also known as beryilia ceramics—have been used for years in electronics, laser, and nuclear research. But for parts manufacturers who use these ceramics as a thin substrate, they have been extremely expensive, since—due to their porosity and relatively course grain—they tend to become brittle as they become thinner. The thin substrates thus tend to chip and break during production, and manufacturers are faced with the increased production cost of having to compensate for lower machine yield by using more raw material.

Now scientists at Cerametals and Consolidated Beryllium Ltd. of the U.K. claim to have countered this problem with the improved physical properties of a newly developed beryllia ceramic, called Beramic Z. Stanley Roboff, the company’s president, says the new ceramic, which is made through a patented, highly controlled process, compares favorably with other beryilia ceramics in several respects—including durability— and should...

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