Fiber vs. Microfiber

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Fiber and microfiber grades of SI-TUFF™ are both high purity β-SiC. Both have a high aspect ratio and function to distribute forces over long ranges to protect your coating. Which size will provide the best performance in your coating system depends on a number of factors and requires trial and error to optimize. Here are some guidelines to get you started:

  • When adding SI-TUFF™ to existing reinforcement, performance is typically best when the length of the fiber is similar to the diameter of existing mineral additives used.
    This helps “connect” the reinforcement together into a strong, interlocking network. Often, this means the larger fiber is advantageous; the length of SI-TUFF™ P-SF is similar to the diameter of commonly used SiC particles and other additives. You want to reinforce boulders with beams, not twigs.
    This is particularly important for single-layer coatings, where all additives are in the same layer. Multi-layer coatings can incorporate SI-TUFF™ into a separate layer to distribute forces across another reinforced layer below.
  • Smaller microfiber may provide better performance in thin coatings, where the larger sized fiber will be more disruptive to coating thickness and other properties. Microfiber works well in topcoats of multi-layer coating systems, where it is not as likely to interrupt other coating properties.

The figure below illustrates how coating performance can be impacted by reinforcement design, including SI-TUFF™ length. The expected result for the unoptimized system is no increase or minimal increase in wear resistance; the expected result for the optimized system is 20-50% increase in wear resistance.

coating_reinforcement_example_unoptimized.jpgUnoptimized Reinforcement System
SI-TUFF™ microfiber in primer layer with medium and larger size particles. Microfiber length is smaller than the particle diameter, which limits the ability to effectively distribute forces.

coating_reinforcement_example_optimized.jpgOptimized Reinforcement System
SI-TUFF™ fiber in the same primer layer. Fiber length is similar to particle diameter, which creates a strong, interlocking reinforcement where SI-TUFF™ distributes forces over long ranges. SI-TUFF™ microfiber added to the topcoat creates an additional level of reinforcement, further increasing wear resistance.

The best way to get started is by reading the Applications Guide. The objectives of this guide are to:

  • Explain what SI-TUFF™ Performance Silicon Carbide can do for you, as well as what it cannot do
  • Discuss the engineering behind why SI-TUFF™ works
  • Review the different product grades of SI-TUFF™ that are available
  • Help you avoid common pitfalls
  • Provide guidelines to enable successful design

Typically Used in These Applications:

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