In the past, carbon steel cutting edges were often used for heavy-duty industrial applications. However, these carbon steel cutting edges were often not hard enough or durable enough for the most demanding industrial uses. Many companies often spent a fortune on carbon steel blades because they had to replace them constantly. However, in recent years, tungsten carbide cutting edges have become more popular. Tungsten carbide, commonly known simply as carbide, is a tough and durable blend of tungsten and carbon. These days, tungsten carbide cutting edges are used in many applications. They are already quite popular and are quickly becoming even more common throughout the industrial sector. Read on to learn more about carbide cutting edges.
What is Carbide?
Carbide can be any compound composed of metal and carbon. However, the term “carbide” is most commonly used to refer to tungsten carbide in the industrial sector. This is because tungsten carbide is the most widely used type of carbide. Carbide is composed of equal parts tungsten and carbon. It originates as a fine gray powder. However, it is almost always formed into blades or points before it is applied to other metal tools. A process called sintering is used to form tungsten carbon from powder into solid shapes. Sintering involves applying high heat and pressure to press the tungsten carbide powder into a pre-molded shape.
What Makes Tungsten Carbide So Durable
Tungsten carbide is so durable because it combines the best properties of two extremely strong and durable elements. Both carbon and tungsten are frequently used alone in industrial applications for their strength and durability. The tungsten carbide compound was carefully created to ensure that it is even stronger than each element is by itself.
Tungsten carbide is around double the strength of steel. It is also about double the density of steel. In fact, it is even denser than lead. Tungsten carbide is about as hard as corundum, the chemical element of which rubies and sapphires are composed. Tungsten carbide can only be polished with harder elements, such as diamond.
Tungsten carbide also has a very high melting point of nearly 3,000° Celsius. It has a low electrical resistance, making it unsuitable for some applications. However, this is not a problem in most applications.
Applications for Tungsten Carbide Cutting Edges
Tungsten carbide can be used for varying applications, but it is often used to make cutting edges. The other applications include abrasive powders and unique jewelry. Tungsten carbide is so hard that the military even uses it in armor-piercing shells.
Tungsten carbide blades are often found in chisels and high-end saws. Tungsten carbide edges are most commonly found in industrial machinery, however. Many high-end snow plows these days have tungsten carbide blades. It’s also common for asphalt graders to have carbide grader blades and carbide bit boards. Carbide can also be used for drill bits. Massive industrial drills used for mining and petroleum prospecting are often coated with tungsten carbide.
Tungsten Carbide Cutting Edges are Becoming More Popular
Tungsten carbide is already fairly common in many industrial areas, but it’s becoming even more popular. The prices of tungsten carbide items are dropping, and companies are integrating tungsten carbide into a wider variety of products.
Tungsten carbide items are also becoming popular outside the industrial sector. Some pens now use tungsten carbide balls to disperse the ink. Even guitar slides are now occasionally made out of tungsten carbide. Some labs are researching the potential use of tungsten carbide as a catalyst. Finally, tungsten carbide coatings are now being used in the automotive sector to increase the performance of brake discs.