About Nitrides

Boron nitride chemical structureNitrides are any of a class of chemical compounds in which nitrogen is combined with an element of similar or lower electronegativity, such as boron, silicon, and most metals.  Certain metal nitrides are unstable, and most react with water to form ammonia and the oxide or hydroxide of the metal; but the nitrides of boron, vanadium, silicon, titanium, and tantalum are very refractory, resistant to chemical attack, and hard—they therefore are useful as abrasives and in making crucibles.

Boron nitride is used in lubricants and insulators. Silicon nitride is also used as an insulator as well as for cutting materials. Gallium and indium nitrides are used as semiconductors, titanium nitride is used in metal coatings, and lithium nitride is often used in hydrogen storage . The diamond-like nitrides of aluminum, gallium and indium all have the wurtzite structure in which each atom occupies tetrahedral sites. For example in aluminum nitride, each aluminum atom has four neighboring nitrogen atoms at the corners of a tetrahedron and similarly each nitrogen atom has four neighboring aluminum atoms at the corners of a tetrahedron.