Tungsten Carbide Uses In the Healthcare Industry
What Makes Carbide Special
Pure metals and compound metal alloys are used in various industries all over the world. Building materials, tools, accessories, and even personal items such as jewelry or furniture can be made of one or several types of metals. As such, there are some metals that are more useful and versatile than others.
By the same token, there are some business fields such as the healthcare industry that must use extreme scrutiny regarding what materials are allowed to be used on a daily basis. After all, people who operate in the realm of healthcare have to use many of their tools to physically operate on their patients while keeping the area they work in completely clean and sterile. Fortunately, tungsten carbide has proven to be the metal alloy above all others that possesses the physical properties, versatility, and usefulness to stand up to the needs of healthcare professionals across the world.
Tungsten carbide’s incredible properties are born form marrying carbon and tungsten together. The resulting alloy is dense, resistant to scratching, pitting, and rusting, and is nearly as hard as diamond. In fact, carbide is three times harder than even stainless steel and can be sterilized just as easily. This makes it naturally fitting to be used in the medical industry for making all sorts of tools.
Why The Grafting Process Is So Important
Because tungsten carbide is so dense, it is noticeably heavier than other metals that are commonly used in the healthcare industry such as steel and titanium. Fortunately, carbide can easily be grafted to other metals through a micro bonding process. This means that hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare clinics can buy instruments that are made mostly of steel and titanium, but are tipped with carbide and thus provide a lightweight grip with enhanced performance on the working end of the instrument.
Carbide Medical Instruments
Because of the properties that tungsten carbide possesses, there are several medical instruments made currently with inserts that contain the alloy. Some of these include:
- Forceps and needle holders
- Bone rasps and scissors
- Screwdriver and drill bits
- Surgical pin and wire cutters
- Butterfly probes
When surgeons use forceps and needle holders that are tipped with carbide, they are able to enjoy a firmer grasp on whatever they might be holding onto thanks to the density and texture of the material. In addition, the incredible hardness of tungsten carbide allows it to be sharpened to a finer point than stainless steel or titanium. This means that scalpels, scissors, bone rasps, and other cutting instruments tipped with the material are able to perform better without having to be sharpened nearly as often.
Due to the sharpness that carbide blades sport, surgical pin and wire cutters can also be used to sever material with far greater precision. Medical practitioners can also employ this same precision during occasions when they need to use screwdriver and drill bits; accessories that were created primarily for the construction, machining, and mining industries. Moreover, because all carbide instruments resist rusting and pitting, those that are tipped with it last longer than any made entirely of other materials; even when they are used on a daily basis.
Carbide Radiation Shielding
While many people exclusively associate lead with radiation shielding, the truth is that tungsten carbide is actually a superior material for protecting both human tissue and electronic equipment. The material performs flawlessly during X-rays and chemotherapy, can be used to create a viable equipment barrier, and can be used to provide syringe protection for any type of radioactive injections. Tungsten carbide can also be used to help direct a specific targeted amount of radiation toward one centralized area while completely protecting the space around it. Lastly, you can use a third less carbide material versus lead and enjoy the same level of energy absorption.
Remember that if your medical establishment is using tungsten carbide products, it is also responsible for proper disposal of all items that have outlived their usefulness. Fortunately, tungsten carbide scrap is completely recyclable. In fact, carbide recycling can help you recoup some of the costs associated with purchasing new instruments. This is because a tungsten carbide recyclers like Carbide USA will generally pay you top dollar for each pound of scrap that you send in for recycling. Since the United States has very few natural stores of mineable tungsten, recycling your used material is not only financially smart for your establishment, but the morally responsible thing to do in order to improve the domestic carbide market and help preserve the planet.