Wacker Ceramics, a division of Wacker Chemie GmbH, held a press conference in March at the SAE 2002 World Congress to announce several new and improved products. The company discussed how its Ekagrip(R) functional coatings can be used to improve the safety and design of joints in automotive powertrain applications by increasing the coefficient of friction between component surfaces. Automotive manufacturers such as General Motors, Ford and Audi are already using the new coatings. The company has also developed a new silicon carbide material called Ekasic(R) G, which is specially designed for hard/hard pairs in mechanical seals for water pumps in air conditioning compressors. The new material contains geometrically defined graphite inclusions that serve as a solid lubricant. The lubricant is homogeneously distributed in the microstructure of the seals to considerably reduce friction and improve the wear resistance, thus leading to considerably longer service life. Also discussed at the press conference was the Wacker WDS(R) microporous insulation system, which has potential applications in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). The insulation consists of inorganic oxides -- primarily fumed silica. The fumed silica has an average particle size of 7-20 nm, with a resulting surface area of up to 300 m(2)/g. The small particle and pore sizes, in conjunction with infrared opacifiers, result in an extremely low thermal conductivity and excellent practical insulating properties.
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