What Is Carbide Used For?

The term “carbide” denotes a compound of carbon and another element or elements mixed together. When the word is used by itself, it typically refers to tungsten carbide. Silicon carbide, aluminum carbide, calcium carbide, and boron carbide are other types of carbide. 

Carbide has various industrial, engineering, and household uses. It’s extremely valuable for all sorts of applications. It’s very dense with a hardness second only to diamond, it boasts excellent conductivity, and it’s three times as strong as steel. 

Although there are many ways in which this incredibly sturdy and malleable material is used, here are the top five uses for tungsten carbide:

1. Drilling and Mining Tools 

Making up the greatest use of cemented carbide worldwide are drilling and mining tools. These drilling and mining tools are used for a variety of construction uses.

Many manufacturers prefer Tungsten carbide over steel, because of its hardiness and durability. Take carbide bushings for example, many manufacturers often choose tungsten carbide over steel for bushings even though it’s more expensive, because it lasts longer which in turn prevents a loss of manufacture time. 

2. Products Made at Mills

A percentage of tungsten carbide is used solely for the manufacture of products made at various end mills and mill inserts. Although, these products vary in shapes and sizes depending on the material they come in contact with, they are all used for applications in grinding and milling. Carbide is very hard and malleable and because of this, it is possible to make accessories for precise milling applications that will generate heavily grinded materials. 

3. Industrial Alloys

Tungsten carbide is often used in the creation of specialized alloys and composite materials that have other metals in them. Carbide can be mixed with nickel, iron, silver, and copper to make materials that are used by designers and engineers to create a variety of things from electronics, industrial gear making, radiation shielding materials, and other items used in aeronautical and commercial industries. 

4. Jewelry

The three uses of tungsten carbide that are mentioned above make up the majority of carbide applications worldwide. However, the newest application for tungsten carbide, jewelry making, has been gaining in popularity over the last few years. The hardness of carbide is what makes it a desirable alloy to use when crafting rings, bracelets, pendants, earrings, and other types of jewelry. 

When tungsten carbide is cut and polished correctly, the material is quite attractive looking. Over the last several years, tungsten carbide based wedding rings have become quite popular because it’s cheaper than gold, and cost effective as well. 

5. Surgical Devices

The use of carbide in the medical field to help save lives is another vital way this material is being used. Surgical tools are one of the most important uses for grafted carbide as the end, blade, or tip of the tool is typically made of carbide. Surgical tools are often made using this material because carbide blades can be sharpened to have a very fine, sharp edge due to its hardness. Carbide is also very resistant to pitting and rusting which helps surgical tools to last longer. 

Recycle Your Scrapes

Carbide can be found in other applications such as ski poles, cleats, fishing weights, kitchen knives, hammers, and many cutting and pulverizing mechanisms for recycling machines. No matter what you might use carbide for its important to always recycle scraps. 

Not only will it help you to reach your businesses environmental sustainability goals, but there are also financial incentives as well. For example, carbide recycling companies like Carbide USA, pay top prices in exchange for recycled pounds of scraps. Selling your carbide scraps to carbide recycling companies will help to keep production costs down and allow your employees to continue to use high quality tools and accessories.