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Old 08-22-2019, 12:58 AM   #1
1tonne   1tonne is offline
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What is harder? Ceramic or Metal

So some people use ceramic bb's in game. My question is, what is harder, a ceramic bb, or a metal bb?
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:12 AM   #2
 
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Depends on the metal in question. Each metal is different in hardness. Also which ceramic are we talking about? Si3N4 or ZrO2?
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:26 AM   #3
1tonne   1tonne is offline
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Either Ceramic. Aren't they both used in airsoft? I guess the harder one.


Not sure on what the metal ones are made from. See link. 0.85g steel BBs 6mm - 1200 rds [BLS-1KGST85] - $19.00 : Unlimited Airsoft Shop
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:49 AM   #4
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Ceramic bbs are hard, they may even break glass. I remember there was one brand years ago, someone managed to break a car’s window with it. Better avoid them in Airsoft.
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Old 08-22-2019, 04:35 AM   #5
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Ceramics are in general harder than steels.
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Old 08-22-2019, 10:20 AM   #6
cetane   cetane is online now
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Silica bbs were banned at many/all sites because they could break glass no issues, and upon impact with a hard surface, they can shatter releasing fine glass dust which could cause issues.
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:36 PM   #7
Masada   Masada is offline
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Silica bbs were banned at many/all sites because they could break glass no issues, and upon impact with a hard surface, they can shatter releasing fine glass dust which could cause issues.
Silica isn't ceramic though. The ceramics in discussion here aren't going to be breaking apart in almost any circumstance.

I'd be extremely impressed if anyone here could damage/break a bearing grade ceramic ball with any normal tools or means. You'd get any of the normal plastic bbs to break waaaaaay before a ceramic one would.


ZrO2 is harder than bearing steel, but honestly not by much.

Hardness of the bb shouldn't matter when it comes to your goggles too. The plastics used in the lenses are not hard and are designed to flex upon impact. They aren't going to shatter when impacted with a ceramic or any material for that matter. If they did, they wouldn't get rated for ballistic protection.
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:37 PM   #8
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Si3N4 and ZrO2 both appear to be slightly harder than silica- which, should be noted, is only slightly harder than the hardest measured plastic BB:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing
Which brings me to
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jsmithski View Post
Ceramic bbs are hard, they may even break glass. I remember there was one brand years ago, someone managed to break a car’s window with it.
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Originally Posted by cetane View Post
Silica bbs were banned at many/all sites because they could break glass no issues
Using my data, the softest plastic as a baseline- the hardest plastic is 75% harder already, with silica being 13 points higher, and ceramic another 12 points. We're all aware "standard plastic" BBs are able to destroy optics and break teeth, so I don't really understand the bonus concern different materials have. I wouldn't care if someone shoots metal, silica, ceramic, or diamond at me- my teeth and eyes are sufficiently protected, scope insured, and beyond that, energy is the only concern.
Note: I suppose I'm biased because I always want to push performance further and ceramics do that, but I'm not biased in the way that I use ceramics- I do not, and never have. I've asked a couple fields and they said 'no'. I'm hoping to get some good objective data on the effects of BB hardness [with a bit of being-shot-by-my-girlfriend thrown in for good emotional appeal] in order to get rid of some of this disproportionate fear...some day :P

As for
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upon impact with a hard surface, [silica BBs] can shatter releasing fine glass dust which could cause issues.
This might be a genuine concern...but I'm curious whether this is a realistic possibility, or just some rumor a kid started. I know there are other things to consider, but with the hardest plastic BBs, metal, and ceramics all strongly resisting shattering finely...well I just wonder if silica really is much different. Would be interesting to test.
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:43 PM   #9
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I'd be extremely impressed if anyone here could damage/break a bearing grade ceramic ball with any normal tools or means.
If colliding two .69g ZrO2 balls at 4 joules is "normal"... :P
Even then, the most catastrophic case was like, 3 pieces- and only happened once. Ceramic definitely does not tend to shatter, and will not be doing so on pretty much any material on the field.
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:46 PM   #10
1tonne   1tonne is offline
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So I guess the reason why I asked the original question is that ceramic bb's just cost too much. If we could use metal bb's and they were safe it would save a lot of money.
I understand inner barrels would wear out fast but I do not care about that.
So really the question could have been worded, "What is safer, a plastic 0.48gm bb traveling at 3.3 joules or a metal bb traveling at the same energy rate?"
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:53 PM   #11
Masada   Masada is offline
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Quote:
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I'd be extremely impressed if anyone here could damage/break a bearing grade ceramic ball with any normal tools or means.
If colliding two .69g ceramic balls at 4 joules is "normal" 😛
Even then, the most catastrophic case was like, 3 pieces- and only happened once. Ceramic definitely does not tend to shatter, and will not be doing so on pretty much any material on the field.
Haha, ya ceramic on ceramic is about the only way to damage them.

I've got a bunch of Si3N4 balls on my desk. If anyone ever asks about their durability I'm always willing to hand them one and a sledgehammer so they can find out.
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Old 08-22-2019, 03:01 PM   #12
Masada   Masada is offline
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So I guess the reason why I asked the original question is that ceramic bb's just cost too much. If we could use metal bb's and they were safe it would save a lot of money.
I understand inner barrels would wear out fast but I do not care about that.
So really the question could have been worded, "What is safer, a plastic 0.48gm bb traveling at 3.3 joules or a metal bb traveling at the same energy rate?"
I personally don't think it will make a realistic difference in terms of safety.

The major downside to standard steel bbs is corrosion. You'd have to keep them oiled at all times to stop rust... and oil is going to wreak havoc on your friction based rubber hop up. Im not sure if stainless variants are readily available, but those could work.
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