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Turning Recycled Tungsten Carbide into Tungsten Carbide Blades

cutting-blade-01Tungsten carbide is an extremely valuable alloy that is used in many industries for different applications. It is also a highly prized alloy because it can be 100% recycled over and over again. Because of its strength, durability, and resistance to both heat and rust, carbide is an ideal choice for surgical instruments, mining and drilling inserts, jewelry, and grips for all sorts of sporting equipment. However, Carbide-USA wants you to know that another widespread use for carbide, especially after it has been recycled, is to make cutting blades with it.

Tungsten carbide is an ideal material to forge blades out of because thanks to its hardness and other properties, a much finer yet more durable edge can be fashioned once the blade has been formed. Carbide blades need far less sharpening than those made of stainless steel or titanium. Moreover, they will not pit, corrode, or break under normal wear and tear.

Why Recycled Material is Used for Blades

The most prominent reason why it makes sense to use recycled tungsten carbide for fashioning cutting blades is because of the lack of material that is available domestically. Roughly 90% of all tungsten is mined outside of the United States and since it takes both tungsten and carbon to create tungsten carbide, domestic producers are forced to either import material from overseas or search for recycled sources stateside. Using recycled carbide is the only way to create a viable domestic market for the product and this is why recycling companies tungsten carbide pricing is typically top dollar per pound for scrap that would otherwise be thrown away.

How Carbide Blades are Made

There are many types of blades that utilize tungsten carbide such as rotary saw and planning blades, scalpels, and hunting or fishing knives. There are two ways that any of these tungsten carbide blades can be made. The first way involves creating the blade from 100% tungsten carbide. To do this, the recycled material is melted down, molded, and forged if necessary into the shape of the blade. After the basic shape is in place, it is ground to perfection, polished, and given its edge. Unfortunately, this is not always the best way to use carbide to make a cutting blade.

cutting-bladesTungsten carbide’s incredible hardness (second only to diamond) can actually become its downfall here. This is because the material’s atomic structure is woven so tightly together that regardless of what shape it takes, it has no give whatsoever. Whereas stainless steel, titanium, or aluminum blades can bend when under pressure, carbide will actually shatter much like glass. This means that if you were to try and put too much pressure on the blade or even drop it on a hard surface such as tile, the force against the blade from heavy pressure or an impact could destroy it entirely.

To combat this problem, blades using the benefits of tungsten carbide can be made a second way that involves a more practical grafting process. To do this, the base and main structure of the blade is created out of another material with high strength, but more give such as stainless steel or titanium. Only the blade’s edge is made of carbide. The blade is either tipped in carbide through a dipping process or a physical graft from already molded material. Removable inserts can also be used and are common in the medical industry. By grafting carbide on top of another material, the blades edge gains all the strength and finite cutting power that tungsten carbide offers while its core structure has the bend and give of other more pliable metals.

Doing Your Part

If you become sold on the idea of owning carbide blades for your business or for personal use, you should also respect and embrace the recycling process that allowed the material to find its way into your hands in the first place. This means that when your blades have outlived their usefulness, you should take the time to recycle them before buying upgrades or replacements. Tungsten Carbide recyclers like Carbide-USA will take any amount of carbide regardless of how large or small and will pay you well for it, helping to cut costs for your next purchase.

February 11th, 2014