Dab Nation Myth busters Series Pt. 3: What is Silicon Carbide?
Everything You Need to Know About Dabbing with Silicon Carbide
As the cannabis industry matures at lighting pace, new products are hitting the shelf like never before. With so many choices available, you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’d hit a saturation point; there couldn’t possibly be anything better than what’s already available, right?
But the dabbing scene has never been one to rest on its laurels, and concentrate enthusiasts are always looking for the newest improvements in dabbing tech. The latest of these comes in the form of Silicon carbide nails. There’s a lot of buzz surrounding these cutting-edge heating elements, so let’s take a look at what all the fuss is about.
What is Silicon Carbide?
Silicon carbide (SiC) is a versatile high-performance ceramic that has a multitude of uses. With applications ranging from grinding tools and car brake disks to combat armor, heating elements and next gen semiconductor electronics; Silicon carbide is one of the 21stcentury’s wonder materials.
It can be formed into almost any shape, is very light, and extremely durable. In fact, we’re still finding uses for Silicon carbide, especially in the field of high temperature/high voltage electronics and computing devices, and even cladding for nuclear reactors. However, it’s SiC’s exceptional heating properties that make it such a good candidate for dabbing.
Silicon Carbide Dab Nails
Silicon carbide’s high melting point of 5,130°F, unrivalled thermal conductivity, and its ability to undergo rapid extreme temperature changes without fracturing, all combine to make SiC dab nails an excellent surface for vaporization. Additionally, SiC dab nails wont “Chazz” like fused quartz does, and users report a notable improvement in flavor over titanium or quartz glass nails and bangers.
SiC is also an incredibly hard material. On Mohs scale of mineral hardness, SiC rates at 9 to 9.5. For reference, diamonds – the hardest substance known to man – is a 10, and glass is around 6. This makes Silicon carbide dab nails incredibly durable, and with proper care, they should last a lifetime.
Is Silicon Carbide Toxic?
No. In fact, SiC is so chemically inert, it barely interacts with any other substance at all. This means it will absolutely not create toxic fumes if you dab off of a Silicon carbide nail. There are however, a number of health hazards associated with Silicon carbide if you happen to work in a factory that manufactures it.
SiC is made using an Acheson Furnace, which produces tiny Silicon carbide crystals that take the form of a powder. This powder is then squashed into a mold using hydraulic pressure, and finally, this shaped piece is fired in a Kiln just like any other ceramic. While Sic isn’t toxic, the process of making it produces a lot of Silicon carbide “whiskers”. These tiny shards of SiC will hang around in the air, and if you come into contact with them, can cause skin, eye, and lung irritation. Breathing in SiC whiskers is what represents the biggest hazard, as these shards will cut the inside of your lungs, causing scar tissue to build up over time, ultimately reducing the ability of your lungs to take in oxygen. This is known as Fibrosis.
But for you as an end user, there’s absolutely no need to worry. That’s because the final Silicon carbide product that you buy has no whiskers, and nor will it produce any when used. Again, you only need to worry about that if you’re making the stuff.
Should I Dab With Silicon Carbide?
A Silicon carbide dab nail is safe, performs exceptionally well with regards to heating, and best of all, improves the flavor of your dab. So yes, you should definitely consider one. However, as Sic nails are so new, they are quite pricey at the moment.
Despite a century of innovation, the manufacture of Silicon carbide is not an environmentally friendly process. It’s both energy and carbon intensive. So, if you’re an environmentally conscious individual, you may still want to stick with a titanium or quartz glass nail, as the manufacture of these nails have a much lower carbon footprint by comparison.
However, the main selling point of Silicon carbide nails is that they should last a lifetime. If you replace your quartz bangers fairly regularly, then SiC nails are worth the investment because a Silicon carbide dab nail may be the last nail you ever need to buy.