News, Power Generation & Electrical

Elkem’s Silgrain® powering space exploration and research

Elkem’s unique specialty silicon powder product, Silgrain®, has travelled from Svelgen, Norway to the planet Mars. Elkem is a world-leading supplier of specialised silicon materials to a range of industries, including aluminum, electronics, silicone chemicals, polysilicon, construction, refractories and oilfield....
Elkem’s unique specialty silicon powder product, Silgrain®, has travelled from Svelgen, Norway to the planet Mars.

Elkem is a world-leading supplier of specialised silicon materials to a range of industries, including aluminum, electronics, silicone chemicals, polysilicon, construction, refractories and oilfield. The speciality product Silgrain® has become an essential part of key advanced products such as batteries used in a variety of aerospace applications.

EaglePicher® Technologies is the leading provider of battery solutions for U.S. space missions. EaglePicher has powered launch vehicles, satellites, landers, and manned and unmanned missions since the beginning of the U.S. space program. In fact, EaglePicher batteries have over 2.6 billion cell hours in space without a mission failure.

EaglePicher’s non-rechargeable thermal batteries were successfully used on the landing systems of the Mars Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers, the InSight lander and will be used on the upcoming Mars 2020 mission. Thermal batteries can be designed for storage of 20 plus years and provide extremely high-power outputs over a short period of time in extreme environments. These features make them ideal for supplying the electrical power requirements to the critical deployment of landing subsystems during the entry, descent and landing phases of a mission. Elkem’s Silgrain® has been used exclusively by EaglePicher for more than ten years in the production of their thermal batteries.

–          “Silicon materials from Elkem are an integral component in EaglePicher thermal battery designs. In January 2019, we completed a delivery of thermal batteries that will support the Mars 2020 mission. As a key supplier, Elkem Silgrain® was used in these batteries”, said Ron Nowlin, Vice President and General Manager of Aerospace Systems.

Elkem is proud of its long-term relationship with EaglePicher which is taking Silgrain® produced in Norway far beyond our terrestrial boundaries in the pursuit of knowledge about one of Earth’s closest planetary neighbour.