Tungsten is one of the strongest metals known to man. It is also brittle, making it difficult to use for many applications. This is why it is often mixed with other elements to create alloys like tungsten carbide, a durable material that has many uses in industry.
Tungsten carbide is a black metallic crystal with a hardness similar to diamond. It is insoluble in water, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid, but it dissolves in nitric acid. It has a low melting point and is a good conductor of heat. It can be machined or ground into a variety of shapes.
Alloys of tungsten are used to make hardmetal and mill products like cutting tools, drill bits, and military equipment. They are also used in other rugged industrial applications. They are especially useful in high-pressure applications, such as wells and mining hammers.
These alloys have higher impact and strength resistance than other forged, cast, or melted metals and alloys without the need for heat treatment. They also have very high thermal conductivity and are resistant to corrosion, oxidation, and cracking.
Tungsten carbide is usually made by carburizing a mixture of tungsten powder and carbon at high temperatures to produce a stoichiometric ratio, one tungsten atom for every carbon atom. Other alloying elements, such as titanium and cobalt, may be added to enhance a cemented carbide’s properties. The physical and metallurgical characteristics of a particular cemented carbide are determined by the size distribution of the tungsten carbide grains after sintering, the binder metal type and content, and the quality of workmanship.