3D Printing Metal Powder

Tungsten Carbide Mechanical Properties in 3D Printing

2023-05-27 20:30:03  Knowledge

Tungsten carbide (WC) is a tough and durable material that is used to make hard metals for construction, industrial tools, weapons and other rugged equipment. It’s also a vital component in machining. Because of its high tensile and compressive strengths, WC can be machined into parts for electronics, industrial gear, automobiles, heavy machinery and more. However, its unique properties must be understood before a 3D printed tungsten carbide part can perform well.

A solid, denser metal-like substance, WC has a light gray color with a slight bluish tint. It has a hexagonal crystal structure and is chemically very stable. It does not melt or boil, but decomposes to form tungsten oxide and carbon dioxide at temperatures of 1,400°-1,600° C. It is a meta-stable compound and does not oxidize in air, but it is highly reactive to water and reacts with aqueous sodium peroxide to form sodium tungstate.

When it comes to WC’s mechanical properties, the most important is its fracture toughness. Unlike steel, which can break easily under pressure, tungsten carbide has an extremely high fracture toughness. In fact, it’s the highest of any non-oxide ceramic.

Tungsten carbide’s mechanical properties are further enhanced by the use of binder materials. The tungsten carbide grains are embedded in a tough matrix of cobalt or other metals. This process is known as cemented carbide, and the amount of binder can significantly affect a tungsten carbide’s toughness. This paper will focus on comparing the fracture toughness, wear resistance and hardness of a variety of WC cemented carbide samples fabricated through spark plasma sintering at different sintering temperatures.