Is cemented carbide and tungsten carbide the same material

Tungsten carbide (WC) is a refractory compound made by reacting Tungsten, W, powder with carbon at high temperatures in reducing hydrogen atmosphere or vacuum.

Cemented carbide is a composite of WC dispersed in a ductile matrix of cobalt (CO), nickel etc. the most prominent ones are WC-Co with Cobalt content varying from 3 to 20%. Cemented carbides are used as cutting tools, wear parts, mining tools etc.

The Difference Between Cemented Carbide and Tungsten Steel:
  • Generally speaking, tungsten steel is smelted by adding tungsten raw materials into molten steel by a steelmaking process. It is also called high-speed steel or tool steel, and its tungsten content is generally 15-25%. In addition to the production of high-speed steel by smelting, there are also powder metallurgical high-speed steels, which avoid the segregation of carbides caused by the smelting method to cause mechanical properties and heat treatment deformation.
  • The cemented carbide is sintered with cobalt or other bonding metals using powder metallurgy technology with tungsten carbide as the main body, and its tungsten content is generally more than 80%.
Simply put, all alloys with a hardness exceeding HRC65 can be called cemented carbide, so tungsten steel belongs to cemented carbide; but strictly speaking, cemented carbide is not necessarily tungsten steel.

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