Surface of a ceramic. False-colour scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a section through a coarse-grained ceramic. The ceramic here is an aluminium oxide, alumina (Al2 O3). Its properties include a high melting point (2050 Celsius), high electrical resistance and great hardness. As a powder, it may be introduced into complex mould shapes. It is then fused at over 1000 Celsius to form the alpha-crystalline state seen here. Alumina ceramics are used as substrates for integrated circuits, car spark plugs, ceramic tools and abrasives. Alumina may also be used to make artificial rubies. Magnification x560 at 35mm size.
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