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What Is Tungsten Carbide?

What is Tungsten Carbide?

In the world of manufacturing industries, especially manufacturing in cutting tools, you might have heard, or heard a lot about “carbide”. But, what is it? And how can it be very impactful in the industrial world?

What Is ‘Carbide’?

Tungsten Carbide (WC), or you might heard it as “carbide”, or “cemented carbide”, is a synthetic metal from Tungsten and Carbon, as main substances, and Cobalt, as a binder. However, Tungsten Carbide can be filled with Titanium Carbide (TiC) and Tantalum Carbide (TaC) to strengthen the Carbide and increase abrasion resistance, so it can be used for metal cutting.

Types Of Carbide

There are 2 types of Tungsten Carbide;

  1. Tungsten Carbide for Non-Iron Cutting such as Aluminium, brass, copper, magnesium, and cast iron. Main substances for this type consist of Tungsten Carbide and Cobalt (Wc-Co).
  2. Tungsten Carbide for Iron Cutting such as low-carbon steel, stainless, or other kinds of metal. Titanium Carbide (TiC) and Tantalum Carbide (TaC) are added to make it suitable for metal cutting.

What Are The Properties Of Carbide?

A carbide from the synthesis process is 2 times more heavy than ordinary metal because it has a density of 15.25 g/cm3, while a normal iron has a density of 7.8 g/cm3. Moreover, it has high heat resistance with a melting point of 2,870° C (5,198° F) and a boiling point of 6,000° C (10,830° F). It also has a high hardness value of 9 Mohs or 1,850 HV, which is just lower than a diamond that has a hardness value of 18 Mohs or 8,450 HV. Although carbide has high hardness and resistance, it is really not suitable for hitting with high impact because of its low toughness.

How Can We Use Carbide In Cutting?

Although carbide has low toughness, it really works well with high speed cutting. We can use carbide to make great cutting tools in various fields;

1. Drilling

Carbide can be used to make drilling bits or other tools for drilling to make a cylinder-shape hole, which are very useful for working with doors, windows, hinges, and latches. They are also great for producing machine parts for motorcycles and cars.

2. Milling

Carbide can be used to make milling bits, end mills, or other tools for milling to remove material.

3. Turning

Carbide is used to make inserts and bites for turning. We can also use Polycrystalline Diamond (PCD), Cubic Boron Nitride (CBN), or synthesis diamonds to increase the efficiency and tool life of these cutting tools.

4. Punch & Die

In some cases, carbide is used to make cutting tools for punch and die. With high heat resistance, conduction, and pressure resistance, tungsten carbide is a great choice of punch and die.

5. Cutting

Carbide Cutting Blade

Carbide is used for making cutting blades for shear cutting materials such as paper, plastic, metal or woods. Also, carbide can be used on a tip of a centerless blade for centerless grinder to increase abrasion resistance, and increase its tool life.

Why Is Carbide So Expensive?

Compared with other metals, carbide is very expensive because it contains cobalt, which is severely short and has very high demand in various fields such as batteries for smartphones, or other electrical appliances. That is why the price of cobalt is increasing, which also makes carbide price increase.


Carbide is a very useful, versatile, and high quality material, which also has high hardness, but less than a diamond. Although its price is very expensive, it provides great durability that can be used in various fields of the industry. Top Tech Diamond Tools provides cutting tools manufacturing service from Tungsten Carbide to maximize your performance in the manufacturing process, and to meet customer’s satisfaction in every industry.


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