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What Is Tungsten Carbide, and
What Are Its Main Characteristics?

If you work in the metalworking industry, you've probably heard of it. Learn more here about what tungsten carbide is and why this coating is so helpful in protecting equipment.

An alloy forms the tungsten carbide scrap coating with 70 to 97% tungsten carbide (WC) and a binding metal, usually cobalt or nickel, creating a surface of high strength and performance. Also known as tungsten carbide, this metallic coating is widely used in environments that require high resistance to abrasion and mechanical wear. Its hardness can reach ranges between 1200 and 1350 Vickers and adhesion in the region of 10,000 PSI.

Thermoplastic Alloys With Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten carbide is sometimes used with thermoplastic coatings, providing the Carbuflon alloy, which provides high hardness spikes in a non-stick thermoplastic mesh. This alloy is indicated to prevent the processed material from sticking to the equipment, offering high mechanical resistance and anti-adherence—an ideal solution for glue applicator rolls and tape or contact items with plastic film.

Learn More About Tungsten Carbide:

The thermal spray process applies this coating; tungsten carbide can be an excellent alternative to solve abrasive wear and erosion problems in the most diverse segments of the industry.

Carbide: Learn The History Of Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten carbide is a hard metal also known in the market as tungsten carbide. It is a coating widely used in manufacturing environments that require high resistance to abrasion and erosion.

Meet Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten carbide is an inorganic chemical compound that contains equal parts of a ceramic material, carbon, and metallic material, tungsten, applied in various ways, such as coatings for industrial machinery, tools, and even jewelry, for its high abrasion resistance. Its element is the WC, and in its most basic form, it is found as a fine gray powder:

  • carbide, w element, in basic powder form.

Tungsten Carbide Applications

Currently, tungsten carbide scrap is a coating widely used in different industry segments. Its applications occur mainly in sealing rings, wear bushings, spreader rollers, traction rollers, rewinder rollers, conveyor screws, tensioner rollers, among others.

The coating applied by the thermal spray process offers hardness ranging from 1200 to 1350 Vickers and adhesion in the region of 10,000 PSI. When combined with thermoplastic coatings, this carbide plus Teflon mesh results in the Carbuflon alloy, which offers high hardness peaks in a non-stick thermoplastic mesh.

A Replacement For The Diamond

In the mid-1750s, Swedish chemist and mineralogist Axel Fredrik Cronstedt discovered an exceptionally heavy mineral in an iron mine in a Swedish province.

He referred to this heavy mineral as "tungsten," which means "heavy stone" in Swedish. Cronstedt was convinced that this mineral contained a new and undiscovered element. Little did he know that they were discovering one of nature's strongest metals.

In 1781, a fellow Swedish chemist named Carl Wilhelm Scheele managed to isolate an as-yet-unknown acid he called tungstic acid (tungsten trioxide) and published the results of his experiments. But it was only 150 years after the efforts of Scheele and his successors that the evolution of science brought the use of tungsten carbide to industry. And everything to be a diamond substitute.

The production of tungsten carbide for industry dates back to the early 1920s, when the German electric lamp company, Osram, was looking for replacements for the expensive diamond drawing dies used to make tungsten wires.

These efforts then led to the invention of carbide, which was soon manufactured and marketed for various applications where its high wear resistance was especially crucial. The first cobalt-tungsten carbide grades that give rise to today's alloys were effectively applied in cutting and milling cast iron in the early 1930s.

Pioneering carbide companies introduced the first grades for milling steel which, in addition to cobalt and tungsten carbide, the alloys also contained tantalum and titanium carbides. Until today, the various applications of tungsten carbide scrap continue to evolve and provide many benefits to industries around the world, making it one of the strongest metallic alloys ever invented.


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