Protecting the environment through clean energy
Improve the global environment
Toshiba Materials produces and develops part materials for clean energy sources.
These include bearing balls for wind power generators and insulating heat dissipation substrates for power control units in electric and hybrid automobiles.
Bearing Balls for Wind Power Generators
The bearings used in wind power generators are exposed to extremely harsh conditions such as:
- Sea winds, as many are installed on coastlines where the wind is strong
- Corrosion (electrical corrosion) caused by electricity during rotation
- High load due to the centrifugal force generated by the extremely large bearings.
In addition, with the generators located 40m or higher above sea level, maintenance was extremely laborious in the past.
Toshiba Materials' silicon nitride bearing balls are more resistant to chemical and electrical corrosion than metal balls and have a high strength and outstanding wear resistance, resulting in an extremely long life.
This "maintenance-free" material is used in many wind power generators, supporting energy industries around the world.
Insulating Heat Dissipation Substrates for Power Control Units in Electric and Hybrid Automobiles
A power control unit is a part used to move electricity from the battery to the motor in electric and hybrid automobiles. It controls the electricity, increasing voltage, converting the electricity from DC to AC and controlling the speed of the motor.
This electricity control is done by the semiconductor parts in the power control unit, but powering the semiconductor generates heat which needs to be diverted outside. However, most heat sinks are made of metal such as aluminum, and if the electricity is diverted there too, the parts will break and electrical control will no longer be possible.
There needs to be a material between the semiconductor and the heat sink that will divert the heat but not conduct electricity.
Toshiba Materials' silicon nitride ceramic substrates are among the best in the world for heat radiation and insulation performance, enabling them to protect the semiconductor from heat. They are also several times stronger than other materials and enable structural features that have not been possible before, such as drilled holes and screws.
This guaranteed performance and reliability helps in the production of environmentally friendly cars.