Scientists at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim an der Ruhr have created a method to economically produce corundum ceramic nanoparticles, one that centers around a key piece of materials science laboratory equipment: the ball mill. Corundum (also known as alpha-alumina) ceramic nanoparticles are useful in a wide variety of applications because of their hardness, which is comparable to diamond’s, and their high resistance to both heat and chemicals. Based on these properties, corundum is used for cutting tools, for ceramic implants in biological prostheses, and for general catalysis. Corundum’s nanoparticle form could even become an essential ingredient in the construction of automotive catalysts. Now that an efficient and economic process for the production of corundum ceramic nanoparticles has been identified, the utilization of this versatile material can proliferate exponentially.
Process by which grinding boehmite creates corundum nanoparticles. Source: Amol Amrute, MPI für Kohlenforschung.
Ball milling equipment and grinding solutions can be found at MSE Supplies. All three major components of the ball milling system are supplied: the ball mills, the mill jars, and the milling media. The ball mills can be purchased in either planetary mill or roller mill configurations, with volume capacities that range from 0.2L up to 20L. The milling jars and milling media can be purchased in a wide variety of materials, from Agate to Yttria Stabilized Zirconia to Tungsten Carbide and many more.
Alpha-alumina ceramic nanoparticles are commercially available for purchase from MSE Supplies.