What is Tungsten Carbide?

Cemented Carbides are a sintered material that is made up of tungsten carbide particles, cemented together with a metal binder, usually Cobalt (Co) but Nickel (Ni) is also used. Originally called Hartmetall by its originators, the Osram Lamp Company, it is also known as Wolfram Carbide (WC) but today the generic word “Carbide” is used to describe this material.

Carbides have been utilized since the 1920s as a replacement for tool steels in extreme wear applications. Its properties allow this amazing material to resist some of the harshest working conditions including corrosive environments, high temperatures, extreme compressive loads, high impact as well as severely abrasive wear conditions.

What Important for Carbide?

As Carbide is made up of WC particles and Co, the relative content and size (and addition alloying elements) provide specific properties to the carbide. In general:

  • Binder content – it is important to specify the Co content. A higher %Co provides toughness but lowers wear resistance.
  • Grain size – the size of the tungsten carbide grain is very important. it can range from nano scale (<0.2 µm) to extra coarse (> 6 µm). Coarse grain provide toughness and wear resistance but sub-micron sizes show very high hardness and excellent flexural strength. 


Coating of Carbide

Various coatings are harder thand carbide and can further improve the wear resistance in metalforming applications: These coatings are:

  • TD – at 90 HRC and a pure vanadium carbide it shows improved resistance to galling and the carbide base is very stable during heat treatment. Carbide with Co > 10% can be TD coated
  • PVD coatings – All PVD coatings can be applied to carbides.


What can we do for you?

We supply custom tungsten carbide tools for cold and hot working applications, wear components, inserts etc. We can supply in most grades with Cobalt or Nickel binder. 

Our applications focus on precision cold work tooling, as well as high wear parts such has found in the pumps and valves and packaging industry.


Our Strength

We specialize in fast delivery of fully ground custom components to the tightest tolerances and specifications, but we can also supply near net shape, as sintered blanks to customers that wish to perform their own grinding and finishing. Typical lead times are 3-5 weeks depending on volumes for finish ground items from stock blanks kept by our manufacturers. For custom, as sintered blanks, a tooling period precedes the production of the blanks so 2-4 weeks additional may be required.

We can match most grades of tungsten carbide from other suppliers from coarse grain, high cobalt content, to nano-grain grades with HIP sintering.

Please contact our manufacturing department  to request a quotation or to discuss your specific application.