Boron nitride is a compound with the formula BN of which there are two main varieties: α and β.
BN α: hexagonal structure of the graphite type (whence the common name, white graphite).
It is a very good insulator with lubricating properties superior to those of graphite at high temperature.
BN β: cubic structure of the diamond type.
It can be produced in the same way as synthetic diamond, under high pressure (62 kbars), high temperature (1400 to 2400°C) in the presence of catalysts. After diamond it is the hardest substance. It is more stable to temperature and is more shock resistant than diamond.