Thursday, 10 February 2011

How is Tungsten Carbide formed?

In typical conditions, when uncombined, Tungsten is a steel-gray coloured metal, Tungsten is only found naturally on Earth when combined in chemical compounds. It was discovered in 1781. The free element is known for its tough physical properties, particularly the fact that it has the highest melting point of non-alloyed metals and the second highest of all the elements a behind carbon.

Tungsten Carbide (WC) is an inorganic chemical compound formed from equal parts of Tungsten and Carbon. It is formed by reacting Carbon and Tungsten at temperatures of between 1400 to 2000 degrees C (2552 to 3632 degrees Fahrenheit). These high temperatures make it ideal to be for mills and cutting tools for industrial use, which are able to required heavy use and high temperatures.

Tungsten Carbide starts off as a fine gray powder, in this form its hard wearing properties makes for an excellent abrasive, or this powder can be pressed and formed into a desired shape, for example tools, jewelry and machinery.

The rare and extraordinary physical properties retained by Tungsten Carbide makes it useful for a variety of applications. It is enormously strong and wear-resistant, so much so that there are only a scarce number of materials on earth that can cut or scratch Tungsten Carbide, with industrial diamond abrasives being one.

It is important to understand that Tungsten Carbide is available in different grades, which properties vary depending on use. There are many different grades of Carbide, which vary on just a few parameters: grain size, hardness, and the degree to which a binder is used.

More blogs to follow on
1) How many grades of carbide are available?
2) What impact does the binder have?
3) Why is the gram size important?
4) What sort of hardness can be achieved?
5) How much strength does tungsten carbide offer?
6) Does tungsten carbide have much elasticity?
7) Is tungsten carbide conductive?
8) What are the main applications for tungsten carbide?
9) What are the main considerations when machining tungsten carbide?
10) What alternative materials are available?

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