ASTRID & HANNS-FRIEDER MICHLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ASTRID & HANNS-FRIEDER MICHLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Silicon carbide, a ceramic material with the ability to absorb fluids like a sponge. Incorporated into the drill bits used for exploratory oil drilling operations, its contents may be analysed to determine the nature of fluids held in the rocks through which it has passed. Silicon carbide, also known as carborundum, is widely used as an abrasive. The 3-dimensional lattice structure of this ceramic, which is similar to that of diamond, accounts to some extent for its extreme hardness.
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