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Some Common Uses for Tungsten Carbide

Although tungsten carbide is one of the strongest and most long-lasting materials in many industries, it does break down eventually. The process of scrap carbide recycling is able to take the damaged pieces, filings, and broken tips then reprocessing this material into other useful products. Tungsten carbide has many common uses in the United States and Europe with more ideas for its use coming to the market every day.

carbide scrap recyclingTungsten carbide scrap is the result of metal filings from sharpening carbide tools, along with broken equipment and instruments used in day-to-day industrial applications. Industries and machine shops are well aware of the high value of this material and consciously prepare for scrap carbide recycling by keeping the tungsten carbide separate from other scrap metals.

What Are Some Common Uses for Tungsten Carbide?

We know that tungsten carbide has been used primarily in heavy industrial equipment such as mining and road construction. But did you know this incredibly reliable material is also used in forming medical instruments, jewelry, outdoor equipment like trekking pole tips and fishing equipment? Let’s look at some other uses for tungsten carbide.

  • Military – ammunition — The military is producing bullets of tungsten carbide that will pierce anti-bullet protective devices.
  • Jewelry – rings, necklaces, bracelets — Scrap carbide is refined and made into beautiful, scratch resistant, highly polished jewelry for men and women.
  • Light bulbs – filaments —  Carbide filaments are longer lasting and have a higher melting point which provides for better light bulbs.
  • Sporting Equipment – trekking pole tips, snowmobile spikes — Winter sports equipment needs a good, solid grip in ice and snow. Hardened steel would often disintegrate or fracture from the cold and need regular replacement. Tungsten carbide tips provide excellent traction and a longer lifespan.
  • Ball point pens – Using tungsten carbide in the roller ball of pens, again produces a longer lasting instrument.
  • Medical Instruments – forceps, tweezers, scissors. The medical profession relies on solid, stable instruments for their delicate work and have found that tungsten carbide far surpasses surgical steel in many applications.
  • Mining/Construction – cutting tips, saws, picks, shovels. This is where it all started. Mining and road construction used hardened steel for their cutting blades, bits, tips, and hand tools. Hardened steel had a good run of popularity as, at the time, it was the most reliable material available. Tungsten carbide and products made from carbide scrap have totally changed the way these industries operate.

What Makes Tungsten Carbide?

Tungsten carbide is not a naturally occurring element. Tungsten is. Tungsten is then formed by the union of carbon, making the tungsten carbide material. The hardness can compare to no other material other than diamond. When considering the MOH hardness scale, tungsten carbide scores a -9, while diamond is a -10.

“There are two well characterized compounds of tungsten and carbon, WC and tungsten semicarbide, W2C. Both compounds may be present in coatings and the proportions can depend on the coating method.[11]

At high temperatures WC decomposes to tungsten and carbon and this can occur during high-temperature thermal spray, e.g., in high velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF) and high energy plasma (HEP) methods.[12]”(from Wikipedia)

Scrap Carbide is Changing Our World

When once we could only rely on hardened steel as the strongest material providing the best outcomes, we now have the ability to reprocess scrap carbide and produce better carbide scrapproducts for many industries and uses.

Tungsten carbide scrap is collected and sent to scrap carbide recycling centers, who collect large amounts of the material. They then transfer the tungsten carbide scrap to manufacturing facilities around the country to be made into new products that can be used in modern day life.

Most likely you’ve seen the wedding bands made of tungsten carbide. These rings provide not only an amazing hardness (no more crushed gold rings) but are highly resistant to scratching. Again, surpassed only by diamonds in hardness. No wonder more people are seeking tungsten carbide jewelry, especially for men.

Current Scrap Carbide Pricing

It’s hard to believe that a small coffee can sized container with scrap carbide in it could be worth much. And it’s even harder to imagine that the sludge and filings…just mere bits of tungsten carbide…can have value with current scrap carbide pricing in today’s market. But truth be told, this material weighs more than hardened steel, its uses are many, and the demand is high.

Carbide-USA in New York is one of the top carbide recyclers in the region and can provide you with today’s current scrap carbide pricing right over the telephone. They are also available to explain how to best keep your carbide scrap separate from other metals, how to package and deliver the material to their facility, and when to expect compensation for the materials.

November 25th, 2014