Cemented carbide is produced by mixing a metal carbide, such as tungsten, with a metallic binder material that is usually cobalt, nickel or a combination of both. This mixture is generally held together by an organic binder and formed into a desired shape, known as a preform.
The preform is then placed into a furnace for sintering, which melts the metallic binder material around the carbide particles. During sintering, the preform shrinks volumetrically about 40%. The last step is grinding the preform to its final dimensions.
Cemented carbide products have excellent mechanical and physical characteristics.
Carbide's exceptional resistance to abrasion is its most important property. In abrasive applications, carbides can outlast some wear-resistant steel alloys by a factor of 100 to 1.
Cemented carbides have a high modulus of elasticity that provides minimum deflection when exposed to bending forces. In fact, the modulus of elasticity is three times that of steel.
Since carbides are generally chemically inert (considering binding material as a factor), they can be used successfully in many chemical and corrosive environments.
With a torsion modulus twice that of high-speed steel, carbide is the preferred material for rotating applications.
Some grades of carbide with cobalt binder perform flawlessly under ultra-high compression and have been used very successfully in pressure applications at up to one million psi.
Carbide grades with higher binder contents have excellent resistance to impact.
Low Temperature Wear Resistance
Even at cryogenic temperatures as low as -453°F, carbides retain good wear resistance and offer a relatively low coefficient of friction where lubricants cannot be used.
High Temperature Wear Resistance
At 1,000°F, carbides still maintain over 90% hardness. Certain grades can even retain significant strength at 2,000°F (higher at intermittent temperatures).
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