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Macor – A Unique Material

Macor® – A unique machinable glass ceramic, engineered to perfection …

Macor® machinable glass ceramic has long been recognized worldwide as a major technical innovation. It is the perfect technical solution for a wide range of applications in an equally wide field of industries.

As the UK’s principal distributor for over 20 years, Precision Ceramics has wide experience in all aspects of Macor; its uses, its applications and, most significantly, its unique properties.

In one of our earliest projects, Precision Ceramics designed and developed several highly complex Macor components for British Aerospace’s Concorde engine management system. Here, the high use temperature, low thermal conductivity and excellent electrical insulator properties guaranteed the reliability and high performance required for such a specialist application.

Macor was also the chosen material in a similar application for BA’s Tornado GR4 all-weather attack aircraft which is still deployed by several RAF Squadrons throughout the United Kingdom.

A Corning Incorporated development and originally manufactured in the USA (now in France), Macor made its space debut when The US Space Shuttle Atlantisit was used as a base material for a series of highly complex components in the US Space Shuttle programme between 1972 and 2011.

Right: The Space Shuttle Atlantis in orbit around the earth on its final mission in July 2011.

Having excellent physical properties, high dielectric strength and electrical resistivity, Macor is non-porous, non-shrinking and withstands high temperatures while providing tight tolerance capability. It can be easily machined into the most complex shapes with conventional metalworking tools enabling fast turnaround from design to delivery and has substantially lower costs when compared with other technical ceramics.

Macor machinable glass is the perfect material for both prototyping and large production runs.

  • Can be machined with normal metalworking tools
  • Strong and rigid; unlike high temperature plastics, Macor will not creep or deform
  • Low thermal conductivity; useful high temperature insulator
  • Electric insulator, especially at high temperatures
  • Excellent with high voltages and a broad spectrum of frequencies
  • Does not require firing after machining
  • Continuous use temperature of 800°C; Peak temperature of 1000°C
  • Zero porosity
  • Won’t outgas in vacuum environment
  • Very tight machining tolerances of up to 0.0005in (0.013mm).
  • Excellent dimensional stability in a variety of environments (heat, radiation, etc.)
  • Can have a surface finish of less than 20µin. (0.5µm)
  • Can be polished to a smoothness of 0.5µin
  • Radiation resistant
  • Can be thick or thin film metallized, brazed, epoxy and frit bonded
  • Coefficient of thermal expansion readily matches most metals and sealing glasses.

Macor Machinable Glass Ceramic ComponentsFurther technical information about Macor – properties (chemical, electrical, mechanical and thermal), technical data, graphs, information and studies  (DC Volume Resistivity, Dielectric Constant, Loss Tangent, Modulus of Rupture, Thermal Conductivity, Thermal  Expansion and Young’s Modulus) and brazing can be found by clicking ‘materials’ on the main drop down menu above.

Left: The unique properties of Macor allow even the most complex of components to be machined using ordinary metalworking tools.

By using this information, both potential and existing users will have quicker and more efficient access to technical information about Macor as well as being able to contact Precision Ceramics to discuss the best way forward for specific projects.

Typical applications for Macor include …


  • Precision coil formers (high precision and dimensionally stable)
  • High voltage insulators (smooth surface finish and unaffected by arcing)

Laser Applications

  • Spacers, cavities and reflectors in laser assemblies (precision finish and heat resistant)

High Vacuum Applications

  • Thermal breaks in high temperature processing equipment.
  • Coil supports and vacuum feed-throughs (vacuum stable and hermetically sealable)

Aerospace/Space Industry

  • Retaining rings on hinges, windows and doors of NASA’s Space Shuttle
  • Supports and components in several satellite borne systems (thermally and electronically insulating)

Nuclear Industry

  • Fixtures and reference blocks in power generation units (dimensionally unaffected by irradiation)

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