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Spinel and Optical Ceramics

Spinel ceramics and optical ceramics are two extremely important materials used in a variety of applications, ranging from engineering to optics. Spinel is a spinel ferrite ceramic material which has excellent magnetic, electrical, and thermal properties due to its spinel structure. Optical ceramics such as spinel have the unique property to control the wavefront of light, leading to their use in multiple optical devices including lenses, prisms, waveplates and more allowing for higher image quality compared to standard optical glass. In addition, spinels can be used for heat conduction and pressurized envelope seals at high temperatures.

Both spinel and optical ceramics are used extensively in aerospace applications due to their high durability, light weight, and resistance to extreme temperatures. They are also utilized in telecommunications, biomedical imaging devices, defense systems, and other industries that require precise focusing elements with good light transmission properties. By combining spinel's stability, with the properties afforded by ceramic-style components, these two materials have become incredibly valuable in various sectors around the world.

Spinel Transparent Armor and Electro-Optics

TA&T maintains a significant capability to produce transparent spinel ceramic armor and electro-optical windows (flat and curved), domes, lenses, and hemispheres.


Transparent Spinel Ceramic

  • Spinel is a transparent ceramic material transmitting from the Ultraviolet (UV) and extending deep into the Mid-Wave Infrared (MWIR)
  • Optically isotropic, eliminating birefringence effects
  • High hardness, high strength, erosion and chemical resistant
  • Available as flat or curved windows for armor and optical applications
  • Available as domes, hemispheres, lenses, and other conformal shapes for optical applications

Spinel Ceramics

Spinel ceramics are a type of ceramic material gaining popularity in recent years. Spinel is a mineral composed of magnesium aluminum oxide, which makes it highly thermally, chemically, and optically stable. Known for its superior thermal shock, high hardness and chemical stability, spinel ceramics can be engineered to meet the specifications of a range of industries by adjusting their composition and processing parameters. Spinel ceramics are very important in the field of industrial technology.

This type of ceramic is often used for applications such as pump components, jet engines, ballistic protection and more where there are extreme thermal or chemical environments. Credit is given to spinel ceramics’ unique properties: it has low shrinkage and resists thermal fatigue due to its exceptional thermal conductivity. Additionally, spinel ceramic’s high resistance to wear makes it suitable for components like heat exchangers and nozzles that require frequent operations. If you're looking for an engineering material with superior performance features, TA&T's spinel ceramics may be for you.

Optical Ceramics

Optical ceramics are a special class of optical crystal materials that are manufactured with very precise optical and physical properties. Unlike regular optical crystals, which use natural optical material elements, optical ceramics are created using synthetic materials that can be formed into specialized optical components such as lenses and windows. The benefit of optical ceramics is their ability to provide higher optical quality and increased durability, at a much lower cost.

Additionally, optical ceramics possess unique optical properties due to the high purity of the ceramic material used in its manufacture. This allows them to be used in more specialized applications where extreme precision is required such as in laser, biomedical, aerospace and automotive systems. This versatile material boasts impressive ultra-high optical quality, superior strength and excellent thermal shock resistance all within a small size and weight range.

Transparent Armor

Transparent armor has been the subject of much research over the years due its necessity in various military and security applications. This type of armor is designed to safeguard individuals or facilities from projectiles and impacts while at the same time providing transparent visibility. It consists of specialized glass or transparent polycarbonate material that helps absorb shocks and make it difficult to penetrate. Transparent armor’s effectiveness in shielding against bullets, shrapnel, and other serious threats make it a critical tool for staying safe in dangerous situations.

Utilizing nanotechnologies in conjunction with special optical materials, transparent armor provides a variety of advantages over traditional transparent glass. Advantages include a greater ability to withstand impact and extreme temperatures, as well as offer enhanced UV/IR light absorption. Transparent armor also offers elevated levels of privacy and safeguards against environmental debris, making it an ideal choice for applications where maximum transparency is desired. Going beyond conventional transparent materials, TA&T's transparent armor promises security, safety and clarity in any number of civilian or military applications.

Applications Availability

Spinel Ceramics are suitable for immediate insertion into a number of market segments:

  • Standard transparent ground armor
  • Specialty transparent ground armor for clandestine applications
  • Air/Rotorcraft transparent armor
  • Optical sensor windows and domes suitable for IR and tri-mode operation
  • Civilian uses: cell phone screens, watch crystals, barcode scanners

Transparent Armor

  • Developed material and processing capability to produce Spinel transparent armor plates up to 16”x18”, 15”x20”, and 18” diameter rounds
  • When compared to current state-of-the-art ballistic glass armor, our spinel armor is 50% lighter, 50% thinner, and has greatly increased erosion resistance.
  • Lightest Weight Armor qualified to demanding Army All Weather Multi-Hit ATPD 2352R specification for Ground Combat Vehicles. Suitable for Light Ground Vehicles, Wheeled Track vehicles, Heavy Transport Trucks, Gunner Protection Kits, Navy Surface Vessels, Secret Service Vehicles

Spinel Electro-Optical Windows and Lenses

  • Excellent transmission in the UV through mid-wave IR wavelengths
  • Superior refractive index stability with respect to temperature from aerodynamic heating
  • High hardness provides increased resistance to environmental abrasion and impact
  • Optical train lenses for broadband sensing spectrum

Spinel Production – Hot Pressing

A combination of hot presses enables the production of 2,000 in² of Spinel per week in a variety of sizes. Custom sizes are available through specially designed dies or post-processing, where appropriate.

Spinel Production – Pressureless Sintering

Research and development of pressureless sintering at TA&T enables complex transparent shapes to be made. Standard components include domes (Hellfire and JAGM sizes), lenses, and custom-shaped components.

Spinel Properties Data


Ready To Work With TA&T?

We offer the best in spinel & optical ceramics production for a multitude of industries, just like yours. If you would like to take advantage of our expert knowledge and professional systems and equipment for your company, contact us today! TA&T is here to answer any questions you have, and to help you scale with ease.

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