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Uses of Tungsten Carbide

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Tungsten Carbide is formed by the union of tungsten and carbon. This metal is considered to be one of the hardest and most durable of all metals. Tungsten carbide has applications in industries such as mining, drilling, metal-cutting and the military.

Tungsten carbide is known for its hardness and high melting point. On the Mohs scale for testing hardness, tungsten carbide receives a rating of nine, surpassed only by diamonds, which have a hardness of 10. This hardness makes tungsten carbide very wear-resistant. The melting point of tungsten carbide is around 2,600 degrees Celsius. By itself, tungsten carbide is not a naturally occurring material, it is only produced by combining the elements of tungsten and carbon.



Cutting tools for drilling, mining and construction often incorporate the use of tungsten carbide. These are undoubtedly the biggest markets for tungsten carbide, accounting for around 60 percent of its use. The use of this material in jewelry is becoming popular. Everything from rings to necklaces can be fashioned out of tungsten carbide. Tungsten carbide is also used on the tips of trekking poles and as spikes on snowmobile equipment. It is also used in ball point pens to align the roller ball with ink. Filaments from light bulbs are made out of tungsten because of its resistance to heat.



Tungsten carbide is used in the creations of some weapons' ammunition. Armor-piercing ammunition is manufactured from tungsten carbide.



China, Russia and Korea are all major producers of tungsten, the primary material needed for tungsten carbide. Large reserves of tungsten can be found in certain countries such as Bolivia, Canada and the United States. Today, around 30,000 tons of tungsten carbide are produced annually throughout the world. Only 10 tons per year were being manufactured in the 1930's when it was first gaining widespread use.



Tungsten itself was discovered in the later 18th century, however, widespread use of tungsten carbide did not begin until the early 1920's. More useful applications were discovered in the 1930's when tungsten carbide was used in the milling and cutting of cast iron.. 








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